Manipal’s Student Support CentreMarch 21, 2019
One in three people suffers from depression at least once in their lifetime. 80% of people who suffer from mental illnesses are in the age group of 15-30. This makes university students very prone and vulnerable to having bouts of sadness and loneliness. The only way to fight mental illnesses is to talk about them. It is of utmost importance for universities to provide such kind of non-judgmental spaces, where students can open up about the way they’re feeling.
Manipal Academy of Higher Education has one such unique facility, which is known as the Student Support Centre (SSC). Coming to college and facing a new environment has been seen to take a toll on students’ mental health. Due to this, the Student Support Centre provides a friendly, confidential and safe space for students to talk about their mental and emotional well- being. Students from all colleges can consult professional and well-trained therapists free of cost. The cost for the sessions is covered by the Medicare insurance provided by MAHE.
SSC provides MAHE students with a non-hospital setting where any student can walk-in and receive immediate help. The center has a cozy and charming set-up, with cool red-oxide flooring, aged wooden rafters for ceilings, and well-lit rooms that exude warmth. It is located away from the commercial hospital so that students don’t feel repelled by the idea of coming to therapy. It is one of its kinds in the country, as it provides professional, immediate help to students absolutely free of cost. The therapists talk to the students about various topics ranging from social isolation and substance abuse to addiction to self-harm and so on, and are open to conversations about anything the students bring to the table.
The center has almost zero implications. A student walks in on a voluntary basis, can walk out or choose to stay for as long as he/she desires and the decision of visiting again is completely the student’s as well. None of the data collected by the center is reflected either on medical, academic or financial records of the student.
The Centre believes that one of the best ways to encourage more students to approach for help, is to hear from friends. Due to this, the Student Support Centre has its own Student Advisory Board comprising of student leaders from all institutes that will work to ensure a student-friendly approach and refer students in need of help to the Centre. The Centre also organizes various events in order to raise awareness, put an end to the stigma associated with mental illnesses and to talk about the university’s efforts towards supporting differently-abled students.
The student support center aims to create a campus with enriched and empathetic children who have a positive outlook and open mind about mental and physical disabilities. As students, many problems that occur in our immediate surroundings seem like they’re the beginning and end of the world. Places like Student Support Centre are a great initiative to de-stigmatize the often-unheard conversation about mental health.
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