Like all problems, the first step is to identify it. For it is only after one has acknowledged the problem that possible solution can be found. Following are some steps suggested by school counselors at government-aided schools in Goa, to prevent depression.
There’s a deep sense of urgency developing in schools in Goa related to counselling. And steps have been initiated to identify slow learners, cases of depression and also help in conflict-resolution amongst students and sensitise them on various related issues.
The idea is to create an atmosphere of comfort for the child and as such the Directorate of Education has now introduced qualified counselors in schools. However, the prospect of having one counselor per school is new and though the requirement in government-aided schools is much more, authorities are hopeful that this situation would change soon.
The counselors’ work on a weekly basis and share their load between three to two schools. The broader perspective is to allow them to interact with a class as a whole and make themselves available to students for personal attention, in complete confidentiality.
“The problem is that staff and school heads in may government aided schools itself are not sensitive to counselor requirements and have failed to provide cabins, closed private spaces to counselors or sometimes not even designated space, which makes it difficult for a counselor student confidentiality, explained Sonal Naik, a contract-based counselor in one of the government-aided schools, who shuttles between Canacona and Margao.
Interestingly, some counselors in schools even complain of teachers neglecting their work, method and advice in a general classroom and even ridiculing students for seeing counselors, making the visit to a school counselor a taboo.