Updated: April 16, 2020 1:05:01 pm
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) on Wednesday urged the administration to launch a mental health helpline to counsel students stressed about curtailed academics due to ongoing lockdown. In a statement, the varsity said it has launched a COVID-19 portal to provide verified information on coronavirus, steps taken by JNU and public institutions as well as research related information.
The students’ union appeal to the varsity comes in the backdrop of a University Grants Commission directive asking all universities and colleges to set up mental health helplines to address students’ concerns during the health crisis. “These are certainly difficult times, and as we know a lot of students are battling with issues of mental health.
The fear of academic losses, questions regarding the future, caring responsibilities, issues coming on the back of the extended period of stay at home among other myriad issues have made many students feel even more vulnerable,” the students’ union said in a letter to Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar.
Stressing that it is important to extend support in every way possible way to all students, the union asked him to start an initiative to “offer psychological support and counselling to the students of JNU, to help cope with the COVID-19 pandemic that is one of the most tumultuous moments in our recent past”.
Other central varsities like Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia had started counseling students much before the UGC directive. The JNU’s COVID-19 portal will collect select information from public domain, official circulars, guidelines, research milestones, challenges and opportunities for the university’s students, faculty, staff and the community at large, it said.
Feedback or suggestions about the website — http://jnu.ac.in/covid 19 can be sent to [email protected], it added. “COVID-19 pandemic is a matter of great concern for all of us. As part of our commitment to the JNU community and to the nation at large, we recognise our role in unitedly fighting this pandemic and providing academic leadership towards this objective,” Kumar said.
JNU has a large number of faculty members who are involved in information dissemination, data mining, vaccine and diagnosis research that have direct or indirect implications for effectively dealing with the disease and secondary issues arising from it, he said.
The varsity has also formed a COVID-19 task force, led by Professor Pawan Dhar, which is looking into the possible ways of working with national agencies to enable the best use of JNU resources for public welfare, the varsity said.
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