The draft comes at a time when students suicides have risen in coaching hub Kota (Representational)
Setting up wellness teams, identifying students exhibiting warning signs and those at risk of self-harm and supporting them are among the draft guidelines prepared by the Union Ministry of Education for schools to prevent student suicides.
With "Every Child Matters" as the underlying belief in developing the guidelines, the draft details directions to schools to enhance sensitivity and understanding and providing support in case of reported self-harm.
In addition, the guidelines also emphasise nurturing partnerships among schools, parents and the community, fostering societal support as a critical strategy for preventing suicides and reducing the stigma associated with suicidal behaviour.
Discarding the damaging notions, including comparisons with peers, the perception of failure as permanent and the sole measurement of success based on academic performance, have also been recommended in the draft, besides locking empty classrooms, lighting up dark corridors and cleaning gardens and areas with excess growth of grass.
The draft UMMEED (Understand, Motivate, Manage, Empathise, Empower, Develop) guidelines comes at a time when a record number of students preparing for engineering and medical entrance exams in coaching hub Kota have died by suicide in 2023.
"A School Wellness Team (SWT) may be formed under the leadership of the School Principal, where each member of the SWT is oriented in handling crisis situations. When a student displaying warning signs has been identified by any stakeholder, they need to be reported to the SWT, which takes immediate action.
"The SWT will also play an important role in implementation of school activities directed towards creating awareness about mental well-being, leading towards suicide prevention. However, SWT alone will not suffice in a school's efforts towards prevention of suicide and would require the support of all stakeholders," the guidelines said.
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