The Board exams come around every year and so do a host of issues like lack of concentration, loss of appetite, permanent headache, restlessness, lack of confidence and, in many cases, extreme depression.

A pre-exam helpline to help students deal with all these exam-related issues, “Disha”, operated by trained counsellors and mental health professionals, opened earlier this month. It is accessible to students from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. up to March 2 on 011-65978181. Students in distress will be helped through telephonic and face-to-face counselling.

The helpline has been reaching out to students in times of distress since 1999. The organisation receives distress calls from Delhi, the National Capital Region and many other parts of the country from students of Class X, XI and XII -- and sometimes even Class IV students and scholars preparing for competitive exams. While many of the calls from students, parents and teachers relate to mental imbalances, many calls are also from students who want specific information about the exams.

Disha also says that the stress from the Board exams is mostly because it is so important for the academic future of every child. Moreover, the system hardly provides any leverage to the student for exploring his likes or dislikes which only increases stress levels .

Parents and teachers are also affected. Many students find pre-exam holidays more stressful since the pressure starts to build during this time. Disha is an effort by Snehi, a non-government organisation which works for the mental health needs of the community.

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