Aspexs (South Point Ex-students Association) launched its unique endeavour, Pointer Connect, by organising a workshop on “Student Mental Health” conducted by Siladitya Ray, holistic psychiatrist, stress management expert, life coach and a Pointer himself at South Point High School, Kolkata, recently. This was attended by nearly 1,000 students and 40 teachers including the principal, vice-principal, and chief co-ordinator of Aspexs.

The main objective was to connect the present students with their ex-Pointers around the world. By bringing them together, they wish to achieve a heightened learning process in order to grow and develop their skills.

Advancements in the education sector have increased the level of competition and stress among students. This calls for addressing the mental health problems that the students are facing today.

Ray said, “We do not give any importance to mental health till depression and anxiety strike. The situation is far more serious for students who are under immense pressure. Society seems to have developed a blind spot to the mental health issue. Nowadays, a large number of them suffer from mental disorders, including suicidal tendencies, and we are largely ignorant about this and rather overlook the problem.”

He highlighted several factors that contribute to the widening range of mental health problems that students face today. These include cell phone addiction, the role of media in shaping the actions and behaviours of students and others. “As many as 72 per cent of people claim that they cannot live without their cell phones and eventually several health problems arise due of this addiction. I urged students to decrease the usage of their phones,” said Ray.

Mental disorders are looked down upon in the society and it is considered shameful. Addressing the matter, this endeavour is trying to break that belief and convince students to openly talk about the issue.

“What I see as striking in the modern times is that I’m seeing a lot of young students in the ages of 14 to18 years having health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. This was unimaginable 10 years back,” said Ray.

The unfortunate truth is that mental issues exist as a stigma in our society. Today, it has become imperative for everyone to openly discuss about their mental health issues. Parents, teachers, students, and for that matter, everyone should be aware of what is it all about.