Mental stress and depression are now common in the country, especially among the youth. There have been numerous cases of suicides amongst students in the past because of depression and anxiety. Prestigious colleges like the Indian Institutes of Technology are not an exception and the recent cases from IIT Kharagpur underline the fact.
Keeping this in mind, the management of IIT Kharagpur cuts off electricity in the campus hostels for one hour every day in the evening. The management believes that it gets the students mingle and develop interactions, which could help take some stress off their minds.
This year itself, the prestigious university has witnessed three cases of student suicides due to stress and depression. According to a report by Business Insider India, Manish Bhattacharya, dean of student affairs at IIT Kharagpur said
Students are meeting increasingly less. This naturally creates a lot of problems as they end up being alone. This small step will help them connect when they take a 10-minute coffee or tea break.
Adding to this, the management also ensured that there are vending machines in all hostel building for free coffee and tea. Speaking with Hindustan Times, the management mentioned other efforts that include a programme for parents with psychiatric professionals, courses on happiness and mental well-being, and reaching out to alumni who faced depression during their college days. Anisha Sharma, a student, said,
It was like an outreach programme where the administration wanted to speak to us… tell us what had happened and how it was important to be connected with fellow students. Many came out of compulsion but realised that it helped. Students interacted with each other, even discussing the suicides that had been troubling for many of us.