Students Suicides

World Suicide Prevention Day: Creating Hope through Action

Rev Fr C Joseph
Counsellor-St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Jakhama

“A 20-year old second-year MBBS student (AIIMS) ends life by jumping from the third floor of the hostel in Bhopal (MP) on August 1, 2022. No suicide note has been found, and the probe into the incident continues.”

A class 12 student of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Model Inter College, committed suicide by jumping in front of a train after securing less than 75% marks in the UP-Board results on June 20, 2022.

Another girl student in class XI hanged herself inside her home in the Virudhunagar district (TN) on July 27, 2022.

On June 1, 2022, Ravenshaw University’s ITM third-year student ended his life by consuming poison in his hostel room over a love affair.

On June 25, a 28-year-old youth from Dimapur, Nagaland reportedly committed suicide between 8 am to 9 am at a hotel room in Safdarjung, Delhi.

A 17-year old student hailing from Nagaland committed suicide in his hostel room in Nizampet on Saturday. The deceased, was found dead hanging from the ceiling fan by fellow hostel mates at around 5 pm. He studied at Sri Chaitanya residential junior college at Nizampet.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), in 2020, a student takes away his/her own life every 42 minutes; more than 34 students commit suicide and die every day in India.

Often these issues remain under-reported due to social stigma and the accompanying legal consequences.

“Student suicides are the number-one killer in young people, more than road accidents or illness-that’s the magnitude we’re dealing with here,” says child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Amit Sen.

The pity is that this is not being recognised as a grave crisis. They are swept under the rugs of failure in exams and relationships, parental expectations, substance abuse, unemployment and poverty. As of now, depression is seen as the primary reason for suicide. But who is the cause of their depression? Who is to be blamed?

The rising number of students suicides makes us question how supportive our family structures are and whether or not they are one of the primary contributors to the increasing number of student suicides.

Today’s students find their schools and colleges as prisons where their intellects are tamed to secure their ‘dream jobs’ while the government continues to shirk its primary responsibility. 

Every time a suicidal incident occurs, we manage affairs peripherally, without dealing with the root of the problem.
It is time that civil society starts looking at students’ suicides as an indicator of a grave crisis in our country’s educational structure-including the institutional structure, curriculum, and the like. Taking measures to address the issue should be our collective responsibility.

Parents and teachers must start making an effort to understand the calibre and the abilities of their children. Simply pressuring them and blaming them for their poor academic performance will only add to their miseries. Today’s young people find it difficult to cope with failures in examinations, careers, and life. Neither families nor other social institutions offer adequate support or solace. Teaching them to handle depression is the need of the hour.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2022

Each year, September 10 focuses attention on the issue, reduces stigma and raises awareness among organizations, government, and the public, giving a singular message that suicide can be prevented.

“Creating hope through action” is the triennial theme for the World Suicide Prevention Day from 2021-2023. This theme is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us.

By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them. It also suggests that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling. Lastly, it highlights the importance of setting suicide prevention as a priority public health agenda by countries, particularly where access to mental health services and availability of evidence-based interventions are already low. Building on this theme and spreading this message over the three years a world can be envisioned where suicides are not so prevalent.

We can all play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide whether as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a person with lived experience. We can all encourage understanding about the issue, reach into people who are struggling and share our experiences. We can all create hope through action and be the light.

Conclusion: There is an increase in the number of suicides compared to 2014, which recorded only 13 cases. In the Northeast, the NCRB recorded 12,801 cases from 2001 to 2012, with men showing more suicidal tendencies than women. Nagaland featured at the other end of the spectrum with the least number of suicides at 36, of which 30 were men and 6 were women. This was however an increase of 3 from 2017, where 33 suicides were recorded. Suicide is a scandal in a world that glorifies life. When a suicide occurs, all the survivors, including the counsellors who dealt with the dead person, mourn the death, in a way feeling guilty or helpless. For any other type of problem, the counsellor can defer his service to a later time, but in the case of suicide, any delay will mean death. Therefore as Counsellors, we need to give top priority to suicidal persons. Counselling is worth only when life is there and not when it is taken away. Society has to be brought to the awareness of the causes of suicides

 And the detection of the warning cues so that it can act promptly to prevent such drastic life threatening steps. On the other hand, the suicidal individuals need to be strengthened with the awareness of the resources they have for standing on their own, in spite of the depressing scenarios around them.