Suicides by students highlight need to reach out to young people, deal with inadequacies in mental health infrastructure

In the recent past, results of a number of examinations have been declared across the country. While students who performed well academically have been the subject of much adulation, less attention was given to the ones who fell short.

However, reports have appeared in the media about students who felt disappointed with their academic performance resorting to extreme steps. In Tamil Nadu, two students committed suicide in a week as they were upset over not being able to clear NEET. A 16-year-old student of Delhi's School of Open Learning slit her wrists and hung herself from the ceiling of her Delhi home last week after failing her CBSE Class 10 examinations.

The instances mentioned above were by no means isolated cases. According to National Crime Records Bureau data, one student commits suicide in India every hour, with Maharashtra reporting the maximum number of such cases.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

There were 8,934 student suicides reported in 2015, but the number of attempted suicides, many of which are unreported, is likely to be much higher, IndiaSpend reported. According to an article in Scroll, suicides of people between 15 and 29 years of age account for about one-third of the total such incidents in the country.

Where does it go wrong?

It is the "shock and shame" element of failure that drives young people to take their own lives, Mumbai-based psychiatrist Harish Shetty was quoted by PTI as saying.

"For these victims, the feeling of having let down their parents is equivalent to a betrayal," he added.

According to psychiatrists and counsellors, a celebration of efforts and not marks, is the key to helping a distraught individual in the aftermath of a poor scorecard.

In a report by The Times of India, Nagasimha G Rao, director of Bengaluru-based organisation Child Rights Trust is quoted as saying that students, especially over 10 years of age, lack enough avenues to vent their feelings. According to him, such students can slip into depression.

Better mental health is the key

An analysis by IndiaSpend highlights the shortage of mental health infrastructure in the country. It points out that India has a shortage of 87 percent in terms of mental health professionals. There are fewer than three psychiatrists per million people, 95 percent less than the Commonwealth norm of 5.6 psychiatrists per 1,00,000 people.

With inputs from agencies.

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Updated Date: Jun 07, 2018 21:55:07 IST

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