The CM made an emotional appeal to students who have sat for NEET and highlighted the 104 toll-free number for mental health counselling.

File photo of Chief Minister Stalin
news NEET Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 20:47

In the last five days, Tamil Nadu has witnessed three suicides related to the NEET exam, the latest of which occurred on Wednesday morning. 17-year-old Soundharya T took her own life on Wednesday, September 15, three days after sitting for the exam, fearing that she had performed poorly. Earlier this week on Monday, 17-year-old Kanimozhi, a student from Sathampadi village in Ariyalur district, ended her life. On Saturday, September 11, a day before NEET, 20-year-old Salem youth Dhanush died by suicide fearing that he would fail the exam the third time. Following these three deaths, CM Stalin went live on Twitter to appeal that no other students take the decision to end their lives in fear of NEET.

Addressing Tamil Nadu’s students, he said, “I am in the same frame of mind I was when Anitha died in September 2017. I had appealed to students then too to not take this step, but today Soundharya, yesterday Kanimozhi, and on Saturday Dhanush have died by suicide. I was broken by the news, and even more than that, I am concerned that this will repeat again. For generations, access to education had been denied to many. That access was slowly opening up. Just at this juncture NEET was introduced to shut those doors again.” He also said that no one required qualification to study and that education is what would give people qualification, adding that NEET destroys the aspirations of students from low-income backgrounds.

Importantly, he highlighted the 104 helpline for mental health counselling that has been set up specially for students who have attempted NEET, saying that support would be constantly available from the counselling centre.

He further said the DMK protested against NEET in the past and accused “certain others” of allowing the exam to take place in Tamil Nadu for “their own self-interest” also adding that these people continue to want the “injustice to continue.”

“[NEET] shatters the hopes of those who want to become doctors, yet the Union government remains stone-hearted and refuses to climb down from its position.” He also highlighted the measures the DMK-led government had taken upon assuming power this year, such as the justice AK Rajan committee set up to study the impact of NEET and the new bill to exempt Tamil Nadu from NEET that was passed earlier this week. Referring to these measures, the CM promised that the government would bring about an permanent ban on NEET.

“Your life is invaluable not just to your families but also to the nation, the nation’s future itself lies depends on your futures, I beg that you do not give up such a precious life. You will become doctors and you will be able to fulfil your dreams,” he said. He also addressed parents asking them to give importance to their children’s self-esteem, further appealing to teachers, social workers and those in the film industry to help foster self-esteem in students.

 

Reiterating the CM’s appeal, the state Ministry of Health & Family Welfare sent out a press release highlighting the availability of the 104 helpline to a counselling centre for those struggling with suicidal ideation caused by NEET-related fears. The press release also said that calls to the 104 line have also been made toll free. The counselling centre has been set up specially for the 1,14, 000 students who have sat for the exam and have been made toll free, it said.

The statement also says that the phone numbers of all students who attempted NEET have been collected district-wise from the National Test Register. District-wise war rooms have also been set up and 333 mental health practitioners affiliated with medical college hospitals, government district hospitals have been brought in. Students will be called from the respective war rooms and given counselling if they consent to it. Further, according to the statement, the 104 facility in Chennai will have counsellors available around the clock for those students who wish to receive support. This will enable the government to understand the mental condition of students and what the experience of writing NEET has been like for them, the statement adds.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.