Future tense: One student kills self every hour in India, says Survey

Mumbai: This is no country for the young, going by the alarming revelation that almost one student commits suicide every hour in India, according to a survey of the National Crime Records Bureau.

India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth between the age 15 and 29 years. Anxiety, depression, low self-worth, academic and societal pressure are the major reasons which compel students to kill themselves, as per the survey.

In the last five years, over 40,000 students have committed suicide in India. For 2018, this number was 8,492. In 2015, Maharashtra had the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest number of student suicides -1,230 - followed by Tamil Nadu at 955 and Chhattisgarh at 625.

Students reveal, the lack of counselling or a go-to person in schools, colleges and universities is one of the reasons they feel they cannot fight their problems.

Ambuj Verma, a student of psychology, said, “I began harming myself since I was 11. I wanted to feel in control of my being and by inflicting pain on myself, I felt I was in control of my body, of my emotions and sensations.”

After a point, he decided to confide in his mother. She took him to a child psychologist and he was eventually cured of the urge to self-harm.

The burden of expectation from the rest of the world and their own desire for attention are the primary reasons causing students to slip into anxiety, depression and self-questioning, eventually leading to their committing suicide, state child psychologists.

Dr Ali Akbar Gabrani, a child psychotherapist, says, “Students are expected to excel in academics, sports, extracurricular activities -- in short, be an exemplary child because of the expectations others have from them.

Due to this pressure, they are not studying to learn but to ‘prove’ themselves. And when they fail to do so, they slip into depression. Often, youngsters want appreciation from others and on social media platforms. Family and peer groups have a powerful influence in these aspects.”

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