A Delhi-based hospital's mental health helpline Friday announced special arrangements for students bogged down by exam stress and anxiety. An official from the Delhi Mental Health Helpline said it will provide 24x7 service and assistance from counsellors ahead of the board exams with the counsellors also doing follow up call backs. "The helpline will also send messages to all the prominent schools in the city to alert them about the need for stress-busting sessions. Instead of pinning unrealistic hopes on their wards or pushing them to the limit, parents should rather strengthen their morale and create a conducive atmosphere at home to reduce examination-induced stress," said Ashok Chacko, Delhi Mental Health Helpline regional director.
The word of caution comes ahead of the Class XII Board examinations that get underway throughout the country March 1. The helpline can be reached at 1860 266 2345. The helpline is a collaborative effort of the Vandrevala Foundation, Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), St. Stephen's Hospital and the Mar Thoma Church.
"Most of the parents expect their children to be in the '90 percent' category in Board exams or want them to crack the IIT or pre-medical entrance tests, putting a massive strain on them," Chacko added.
"Both parents and students can ring up our helpline number, especially designed for Delhi and north India, and get counselled by expert psychologists and psychiatrists, round the clock. The best part is that it is absolutely confidential, anonymous and free of cost," he said.
The helpline has a three-tier system. Clinical psychologists trained in counselling are primary call takers, while the calls are also escalated to trained psychiatrists depending on their severity. In extreme cases, calls are patched through to senior, experienced & empanelled psychiatrists.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also started a pre-exam helpline from Feb 1 till April 16. The CBSE helpline can be accessed at toll-free number 1800-180-3456 between 8 AM and midnight.

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