Student suicides steadily rising in City

Student suicides steadily rising in City

Student suicides steadily rising  in City

 The City’s reputation as the suicide capital is undisputed, but what is dismaying is a surge of suicides among students.

According to statistics available with the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), student suicides increased by over 40 per cent in the period between 2007 and 2011. In 2011 alone, the City recorded 197 incidences of student suicides — the highest in the last five years.

More than 60 per cent of those students who committed suicide in 2011 were between the age of 15 and 29. The number of male teenagers and young men who committed suicide far outnumbered the number of girls who ended their lives.

“The percentage of students in SSLC and below who committed suicide was less compared to those studying in colleges,” said an official at SCRB. He added, however, that the statistics exclude school and college dropouts.

Stress primary cause

Psychiatrists attribute the trend to various factors. “It is a combination of both parental and academic pressures that drive students to suicide,” explained Lata Jacob, the Clinical Manager of the Medico Pastoral Association and a volunteer counsellor with SAHAI Helpline.

The helpline is Bangalore’s first telephone aid for people suffering from emotional distress. “We receive an average of three calls from depressed students every day — all from different strata of society. This number rises to 20 during exams,” Jacob said.

“Different kinds of insecurities and anxieties, and a pressure to excel seems to be the tipping point. Many callers say they are worried about not getting a seat in reputed college if they fail to get a decent percentage in exams.”

Echoing similar views, NIMHANS Associate Professor (Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Dr K John Vijay Sagar told Deccan Herald that factors could include stress-related discord between parents, academic stress, failure in exams, interpersonal issues with friends, abuse experience, psychiatric disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and chronic medical illness.

“Schools and colleges in the City should appoint qualified counsellors to provide help at an early stage of depression in students. The educational system should enable itself to address academic stress,” he pointed out.

Crucial role

Academic experts said some schools and colleges have set up counselling centres in their campus to train students to handle pressure and emerge from personality complexities.

“The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Board of Accreditation have studied the feasibility of setting up counselling centres in educational institutions as they serve to also help the students get better grades.

“The Accreditation bodies have directed educational institutions to have counselling centres as it is a healthy practice. As a result, many colleges and even schools are setting up counselling centres in the City,” explained Dr R C Hiremath, NAAC coordinator of S N College, Rajajinagar.

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