In a questionable move apparently aimed at preventing suicides, the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru has opted to remove ceiling fans from hostel rooms, and replace them with wall-mounted fans, apparently to prevent death by hanging. This comes after four students of the premier science institute died allegedly by suicide in their hostel rooms since March this year.
The IISc confirmed to ThePrint via email responses that ceiling fans were being removed from hostel rooms â€śto restrict access to any means of self-harm on the campus, which includes changing the current ceiling fans in hostel roomsâ€ť. The institute further claimed that it was doing its utmost to promote the psychological well-being of the IISc community. â€śThe measures that we have been taking are based on recommendations that have been made to us by mental health experts,â€ť one of the emails added.
Another initiative adopted by the institute was to have counselors call individual students on campus to inquire about their well-being. This exercise has already been completed, the email said. It added that these are only a few of the many measures that the institute has taken in recent times. This, even though it has been repeatedly emphasised by mental health experts that mental health and wellbeing need ongoing support and access to mental healthcare, and cannot be addressed by a one-stop solution.
Meanwhile, a report in the Deccan Herald carried the results of a poll conducted by students on campus which â€śfound that 90% of 305 respondents did not want ceiling fans to be replaced by wall-mounted fans, while 6% said that they do not care.â€ť Moreover, 88% of students said they did not think that â€śreplacing ceiling fans with wall-mounted fans in all IISc hostels (would) help curb student suicidesâ€ť.
Students had in the past alleged that the institute didnâ€™t pay attention to the mental health of the students who had to stay back at the hostel during the time of pandemic-induced lockdown.
While the institute set up a wellness centre during the pandemic to address the mental health issues of students, the students claimed that it has not proved to be effective with just two consulting therapists, who are only available on the weekends.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm
Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.