Amid the times of coronavirus, if there’s one community that’s suffered the most, it’s the student community. The coronavirus pandemic has only added to the pressure felt by students due to the harsh Indian education system and the society. Hence, to help students balance their mental health and not feel fettered due to the pandemic; the Union Health Ministry has launched the ‘Manodarpan’ portal. Union Human Resource Development (MHRD) Minister, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, on 21 July launched the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative. It aims to provide psycho-social support and counselling to students to enhance their mental health and social wellbeing.
Under the ‘Manodarpan’ initiative, the MHRD has launched a toll free helpline number (8448440632), a 21st century life skills handbook, and a ‘Manodarpan’ website (manodarpan.mhrd.gov.in) for students studying in schools, colleges and universities. The Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, on May 17, had talked about launching a mental health platform for students under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan launched by PM Narendra Modi. The Finance Minister in her press conference, said, “Many students required psychological support because lockdown was new to them. They were stressed because of this. ‘Manodarpan’ will provide assistance to the students, teachers and parents.”
Union HRD Minister, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, at the launch event of ‘Manodarpan,’ said, “COVID-19 is understandably a challenging time for everyone around the world. This global pandemic is not only a serious medical concern but also brings mixed emotions and psycho-social stress for all. With a specific focus on children and adolescents, there are emerging mental health concerns that are often reported in such situations. Children and adolescents may be more vulnerable and may experience a heightened level of stress, anxiety and fearfulness, along with a range of other emotional and behavioral issues.”
The minister further added to his statement, “HRD Ministry has felt that while it is important to focus on continuing education on the academic front, the mental well-being of the students also needs to be given equal importance.”
The ‘Manodarpan’ initiative comprises of a team of experts in the education field, psychologists and mental health experts. Their job is to monitor and promote mental health issues and concerns of students. It aims to provide help and address the psychological effects of the coronavirus pandemic on students through online counselling services and helpline numbers. Hopefully, this scheme will be able to provide some sort of mental relief to students and help them mentally overcome these difficult times.