Suicides, mental trauma: Govt hires stress counsellors in ITBP
For the first time, government has decided to hire “stress counsellors” in paramilitary forces in order to curb instances of suicide and mental and behavioural disorders amongst troops working under acute pressure in some of the toughest combat zones of the country.
The Union Home Ministry recently gave its nod to Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s (ITBP) maiden proposal to recruit at least 44 ‘stress-cum-teaching’ counsellors directly in the rank of Head Constables.
Till now, paramilitary forces either used to choose and train some of its regular combat personnel in counselling techniques or hired or invited experts from outside to talk to troops and boost their morale.
The about 80,000 personnel-strong ITBP is deployed in some of the most difficult locations in the hinterland and amidst the harshest of weathers along the 3,488-km long icy India-China border.
The vacancies are open for both men and women candidates in the age group of 20-25 years. An essential qualification for aspirants is to possess a Bachelor’s degree with Psychology as an essential subject of study or a graduation with BEd or a Bachelors in Teaching.
“The ITBP expects to hire these personnel by the middle of this year and they will be put under routine force training before being commissioned,” a senior official said.
The counsellors are to be rotated at all ITBP locations to not only give ‘pep talks’ but also identify and alert colleagues and superiors upon finding stress-related symptoms in an individual, he said.
The official said while the mountain-trained ITBP has taken lead in this regard, other paramilitary forces, also known as Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), will soon follow suit.