Bangalore: As a part of the Fortis National School Mental Health Program, the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, under the leadership of Dr. Samir Parikh, launched a multi-pronged online and offline campaign across India to equip students, teachers, parents and teachers with the skills to deal effectively with the challenges associated with the exam season.
As an integral part of the campaign, our team conducted more than 240 workshops reaching out to around 210 schools across 21 cities of the country. Via these talks, we reached out to over 25000 students, 1100 teachers and parents, equipping them with strategies towards smarter goal setting, improving memory and concentration, time management as well as coping mechanisms to bust exam stress effectively.
24*7 Fortis National Exam Helpline
From a 9am-5pm helpline, we transitioned to a 24*7 helpline for students as well as their parents in order to provide guidance and support for concerns around preparing for exams and exams related stress. Carried out in shifts, this helpline has been run by our team of psychologists and psychiatrists round the clock. We have been receiving calls from not just school students, but teachers and parents as well, touching up to as many as 200 calls per day.
Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare said, “There is a significant stress that both students experience during exam season. To help these pressures for both students as well as their families, Fortis runs a 24*7 helpline by a team of mental health experts including psychiatrists and psychologists. This helpline facilitates students to study more effectively, improve memory and concentration, reduce exam anxiety as well as improve lifestyle during exams. We have also been receiving calls from parents of students to discuss ways of supporting their children during this high-stress time. We have been receiving hundreds of calls throughout the day and night from across the country and overseas as well.”
Common questions asked by students:
· How can I increase my concentration levels?
· I tend to panic and blank out when I sit down to writing an exam. What should I do?
· What is the best way to manage my time effectively during the exams?
· What do I do if I feel anxious during exams and forget everything?
· Even though I study hard, I don’t do well. What should I do?
· What are some of the best ways to reduce exam stress?
· How can I improve my concentration for subjects which are difficult?
· I’m never able to finish my paper on time, what should I do
· How should I face my family and friends if I fail?
· How can I improve my time management and stop procrastinating
· Can smoking or alcohol help me de-stress?
· I feel unwell before my exams, what should I do?
· My parents put a lot of pressure on me to study, how should I deal with that pressure?
· People tell me I’m not as smart as my sister/brother and it really affects my confidence, what should I do?
· My parents get disappointed in me if I don’t do as well as my friends, what should I do?
Common questions asked by parents:
· How can I help my child to follow the time table rather than just having it on paper?
· What is the way to increase my child’s motivation towards studying?
· Besides my daughter getting anxious during the exams, as a parent I myself tend to become stressed. What can I do?
· How can I improve my child’s confidence?
· What are the warning signs that my child might be in distress?
· What kind of lifestyle should my child follow during exam days?
· I’ve noticed my teenager experiencing mood swings and irritability, is that a sign of concern?
· How can I help my teenager relax before exams?
Common questions asked by teachers:
· How can we generate students’ interest in subjects which they are performing inadequately?
· How can we help students memorize facts, figures and formulas effectively?
· What can we do to help students cope when they are dissatisfied with their performance in the exams? How can we help them move on?
In addition, animated videos on Study and Exam Skills giving students tips on improving concentration, memory, time management, prioritization as well as stress-busting techniques, as well as a Toolkit for Parents to help their children cope with exam stress have been shared on various social media platforms. Tips and guidance for students shared regularly on social media.
Posters giving tips and strategies for students to bust exam stress as well as to use effective study skills were shared with over 300 schools across the country.