‘HOPE’ helpline to counsel students revived in Kota

Saving coaching institute students from depression and suicidal tendencies has become easier as the helpline for counselling coaching students in Kota has restarted after almost a year long closure.

The ‘HOPE’ helpline was literally the hope for coaching students of Kota for around 5 years before its closure a year ago. It was launched during the tenure of the then District Collector of Kota, T. Ravikant, following a rise in the number of student suicides then. Initially the helpline was run with the support of the district administration and coaching institutes, but later it started facing problems due to lack of counsellors, financial support and administrative support. It eventually closed down in December, 2014. 

Meanwhile when the student suicides increased in Kota last year, the absence of this helpline drew attention of the coaching institutes and district administration. After several months of efforts, the administration and the Hope Society which was earlier running the helpline, have once again revived the helpline. The ‘HOPE’ helpline situated in Jawahar Nagar area of Kota City, is attending to round the clock calls from students. Leading Psychiatrist in Kota, and Coordinator of the helpline, Dr. ML Agarwal said that the helpline is attending to an average of 2-to-3 student calls daily. He also informed that the complaints from students are mainly related to stress, study pressure, emotional issues, psychological issues, and fees refund. Hope is a non government organisation which is running with financial support from coaching institutes. “HOPE helpline had played a crucial role in saving several lives in the past whereby, it received around 4591 telephone calls in 5 year. Seven counsellors are offering psychological and psychiatric counselling to students calling on the helpline no 0744-333666,” said Dr. Agarwal, who also runs the Agarwal Neuropsychiatry Centre. About the counsellors qualification, he said that all the counsellors are post graduates in either Psychology or Sociology.

Additional District Magistrate, Kota City, Sunita Daga, said, “Administration has given a No Objection Certificate (NoC) for the revival of the helpline. Now publicity of Hope helpline numbers will be done through coaching institutes so that students can take counselling from it, she said.