In 2019, 10,335 students in India committed suicide, which practically equates to 28 per day or 1 per hour. Overall since 1995, there have been 1.72 lakh suicides amongst students in India. The number of suicides have been on a rapid increase over the years and the ongoing pandemic poses a greater threat for the future.
A huge misconception regarding student’s suicide is that they are mostly related to failure in examinations, but that is true for only 30% of the times.
Listed below are some of the major causes for student suicides.
It is a basic human tendency for parents to expect their children to do well at academics as most families spend a significant amount of the family income on their children’s education. But the problem comes when these expectations are unhealthy and unreasonable. There are many children who might be trying their level best but are “not able to meet the expectations” of their family, teachers or the society. Students are told from the beginning about the mad rat’s race, and their happiness and their own expectations are sacrificed in the process. There are several students who are forced to go for conventional career options or face the constant pressure to succeed.
IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Internet, smartphones and many social media platforms have transformed our lives since the turn of the 21st century. Apart from the obvious concern of addiction, the children are more exposed than ever to age-inappropriate content and cyber bullying. The use of social media has led to an increase in psychological and psychiatric problems among adolescents as they may not be prepared to tackle the negative comments they receive on these sites.
POOR MENTAL HEALTH
India has one of the poorest records when it comes to mental health awareness and treatment. It is still considered a taboo even amongst the more affluent and educated people. In the 2021-22 budget, the government allocated only Rs 597 crores for mental healthcare. India ranked 144 out of 156 countries in the World Happiness Index.
DRAWBACKS OF THE EDUCATED SYSTEM
It has been pointed out by several educationalists that the Indian education system is due for reforms. Indian education systems lays a lot of stress on theoretical knowledge and less on practical knowledge, thereby making the learning process uninteresting and uninspiring for several students. Also, when the students enter the job market, they lack the creative and analytical skills required for them to get good jobs, which in itself becomes a major cause for despair and frustration.
PEER AND ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
In this technological age, our children are exposed to multiple sources, which impact their friendships and relationships. Several times, adolescents struggle to face rejections in these relationships and choose the wrong path.
Apart from the above factors, there are several pandemic driven factors that have proven to be very challenging. The lack of physical activities, shutdown of schools, inability to meet school friends for long times, online classes have put our students in a bad mental place.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Teachers, parents, elder siblings and the other concerned individuals have to work to create a healthy environment where the student can have a positive outlook and is able to share his or her feelings without the fear of judgment. Receiving counselling and therapy should be normalized.
Students on their part should engage themselves in the activities they enjoy, follow healthy sleeping and eating patterns, exercise, communicate their problems to their parents, teachers and amongst friends.