The 104 health helpline was set up after three students committed suicide in three days. While one student took the extreme step on the day of the NEET, two others took their lives after the exam.
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After this the health department set up the helpline through which counsellors would reach out to all the 1,10,971 aspirants from Tamil Nadu who took the NEET-UG exam.
The state has engaged 60 psychologists and 25 psychiatrists to provide counselling to these students. The numbers of all the 1,10,971 students were collected and they were contacted.
Periyasamy, a psychologist who is with the 104 health helpline, told IANS, “A large number of students who took the NEET were found to be tense and of this, we could find that the maximum tensed students were those who have taken the repeaters test. The repeaters generally devote the entire year to prepare for the exam by skipping their regular classes and hence they would be very tense after appearing for the examination.”
The counsellors said that 200 students were categorised as ‘High Risk’ and the counsellors are in regular touch with them to prevent them from taking any extreme step.
Dr Sarvanan, Chief of 104 health helpline, told IANS, “Of the 1,10,971 NEET aspirants, 45000 did not respond to our repeated calls, but we will continue to call and try and counsel them.”
He said that all students would again be contacted and this process will continue till the students respond to the calls. He said that the calls would continue till the exam results are out.
Dr Venkitesh Madankumar, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Chennai while speaking to IANS said, “Some students are taking the exam easily and they said that if they could not crack this, they would opt for some other career. However, 15 per cent of the students said that medicine was their life.”
The counsellors also said that some students who have appeared for the first time are also very tense and according to statistics these students are those who are from socially and economically weaker backgrounds.
Saravanan said, “Most of such students would be first-time graduates of their families and they experience more tension. Counsellors are contacting high-risk students every alternate day and we are also in touch with their parents.”
He added that the details of these students are provided to the district administrations where they live and officials would visit the homes of these students.
Dr Rajani. U.V, Professor of Psychiatry, Madurai Government Medical College, told IANS, “The students have to be properly taught that medicine is not the end of life nor this examination and they have high potential and they can try other areas if they were not able to crack the examinations. It has to be communicated to them.”
At 104, the counsellors said that most of the students who are tense want someone to listen to their issues. A psychologist while speaking to IANS said, “We are convincing them that we are there to listen to them and would sort out their problems.”