Education ministry releases draft guidelines to prevent student suicides

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UMMEED: Ministry of Education’s Draft Guidelines to Enhance Sensitivity and Support for At-Risk Students in Indian Schools

In an effort to address the increasing instances of self-harm among students, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has unveiled a set of preliminary guidelines for educational institutions.

Dubbed ‘UMMEED,’ which stands for ‘Understanding, Motivation, Management, Empathy, Empowerment, and Development,’ these guidelines prioritize the cultivation of greater sensitivity and support for students who may be vulnerable to self-harm.

The Foundation of the Guidelines: ‘Every Child Matters

The draft guidelines emphasize that the core principle underpinning their creation is ‘Every Child Matters.’ They go on to elaborate that when students struggle to navigate their personal and social challenges, the potential outcomes encompass emotions such as sadness, discontent, frustration, mood fluctuations, hopelessness, and in severe cases, self-harm, including suicide.

Recognizing Vulnerable Students and Implementing Preventative Measures

The UMMEED guidelines recommend the establishment of a School Wellness Team (SWT) tasked with identifying students displaying warning signs.

These guidelines also advocate for swift responses and the implementation of support measures for these students. The draft encompasses several key topics, including ‘Dispelling Myths about Suicide,’ ‘Factors Contributing to Suicidal Tendencies,’ and ‘Indicators of At-Risk Students.’

Schools are advised to periodically reevaluate the composition of the SWT, taking into consideration the available resources, in order to provide all stakeholders with opportunities for awareness-building and skill development. Additionally, it is recommended that the effectiveness and operation of the SWT undergo an annual review.

Enhancing Capabilities and Expanding the Safety Network

To effectively reduce the incidence of suicide, the guidelines suggest that schools proactively enhance the capabilities of various stakeholders, including teachers, school personnel, students, students’ families, and others. This inclusive approach ensures that everyone can contribute to identifying and assisting individuals at risk.

These vital guidelines, available for public access and review, have brought attention to an issue that frequently remains concealed. For additional information, you can access the draft guidelines by following this link.

Check the full UMMEED: Suicide prevention guidelines for schools here.

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