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IIT-Guwahati introduces the SAATHI Counselling Club to nurture well-being and academic excellence


In the fast-paced and competitive world of higher education, student well-being often takes a backseat. The relentless pursuit of academic excellence can sometimes come at the cost of mental and emotional health. Recognizing this critical issue, the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) has taken a proactive and commendable step towards fostering a culture of mental wellness on its campus. Guided by the Ministry of Education's 'UMEED' guidelines and a commitment to student welfare, IIT Guwahati has established a dedicated mental health and counselling system in the form of the SAATHI Counselling Club. In this blog, we will explore how the SAATHI Counselling Club is enhancing sensitivity and understanding while providing vital support to at-risk students.


SAATHI Counselling Clubs: The goal is to ensure self-support for students


The SAATHI Counselling Club at IIT Guwahati comprises dedicated student volunteers who work tirelessly to support their fellow students in matters of mental and overall well-being. These student volunteers collaborate with professional counsellors to create a nurturing and supportive environment on campus. Let's delve into some of the initiatives undertaken by the SAATHI Counselling Club:


Ice-breaking session for 1st year students


Freshers often experience a mix of excitement and anxiety as they step onto a new campus. To help these students ease into their new environment, IIT Guwahati conducts ice-breaking sessions. These sessions not only foster a warm and inclusive atmosphere but also raise awareness about mental health and overall well-being. Importantly, they introduce students to the resources and support available through the Counselling Cell and the Center for Holistic Wellbeing.


Peer mentorship programme


The Peer Mentorship Program assigns experienced students as mentors to newcomers. These peer mentors play a pivotal role in providing relevant information, clearing doubts, and assisting with various challenges. This initiative has been instrumental in helping students adjust to the competitive academic environment and address stress-related issues effectively.


Stress escaping room workshop


Semester examinations can be a source of immense stress for students. To equip them with the tools to cope with this stress, the SAATHI Counselling Club collaborated with MindPeers to organize a Stress Escape Room workshop. This event aimed to share knowledge on stress management and explore entrepreneurship and career choices. It's not just about academic support but also holistic growth.


Mandatory interactions with the Institute Counsellors for the UG Students


One of the groundbreaking initiatives undertaken by IIT Guwahati is making interaction with institute counsellors mandatory for first-year undergraduate students. The schedule is thoughtfully designed to ensure that these sessions do not coincide with academic timetables, removing any potential barriers. This mandatory interaction is vital in familiarizing students with the available counselling services and eliminating the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health concerns.


Ensuring an active participation in emergency situations


The SAATHI Counselling Club doesn't wait for issues to surface; they proactively address mental health concerns and similar issues among students. They have successfully supported students dealing with panic attacks, stress, depression, and abnormal behavior. These proactive efforts have already yielded positive results, including the successful assistance of numerous students dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety.


An effort for a pioneering approach to the well-being of students


IIT Guwahati's SAATHI Counselling Club serves as a beacon of hope and support for students. By actively prioritizing mental health and well-being, they are not only fostering a healthier campus environment but also nurturing the future leaders of tomorrow. Their commitment to erasing the stigma around seeking help for mental health issues sets a powerful example for educational institutions across the country.


The initiatives undertaken by the SAATHI Counselling Club are not mere token gestures but a comprehensive approach to student well-being. They recognize that a student's success and contentment are intrinsically linked to their mental wellness. This approach aligns seamlessly with the Ministry of Education's 'UMEED' guidelines, which stress the importance of sensitivity, understanding, and support for at-risk students.


IIT Guwahati's SAATHI Counselling Club is a shining example of how higher education institutions can prioritize student mental health and overall well-being. Their initiatives, from ice-breaking sessions to peer mentorship programs and proactive support in emergencies, are making a tangible difference in the lives of students. By embedding a culture of mental wellness within its campus, IIT Guwahati is not only enhancing academic excellence but also nurturing compassionate and resilient individuals ready to face the challenges of the future. Other educational institutions would do well to take a page from their book and prioritize student well-being as an imperative, not just a priority.


 

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