Not the only way out

Not the only way out

The cases of suicides among teenagers are on the rise and depression could be a reason for this. According to experts, depression can be due to various factors like the stress associated with modern living and lack of social support.

“The cases of suicides are high among teenagers between 14 and 19 and depression is the main cause for this. Depression is a psychiatric disorder and can affect a person at any point of time in life. During adolescence, there are a number of hormonal changes taking place in the body. So this along with other lifestyle and relationship issues could be a trigger for depression among teenagers,” says Dr Sulata Shenoy from Turning Point Psychological Centre.

 Prabhavathi Vappala, a counsellor from Jyothi School, says, “It all depends on how children feel about themselves. They can suffer from low self-esteem and confidence levels due to the way they are treated. What one says to them can affect them too. If a child has been abused, is unable to cope up with day-to-day pressures or has dominating people around, he or she could feel victimised.”

How does one know if a child has suicidal thoughts? Sulata says, “The child makes an attempt to harm himself or herself or talk about death, the futility of life etc. Most children give ample signs to show that they are thinking of suicide before actually attempting it. So the parents have to be alert.” Prabhavathi adds, “Depressed teens generally dislike the company of people. They prefer to be alone and have no interest in life. They suffer from low appetite and loss of sleep and don’t have an interest in anything related to studies.”

Social networking sites add to the problem. Many a time, teens fake their identities in the virtual world to be accepted. “The only meaningful relationships some teens have are online. When something goes wrong, they are unable to connect to the real world and this leads to depression and suicidal tendencies. Sometimes, it is the perceived lack of support and alienation from others that drives the person to take the extreme step,” adds Sulata.

“The society is changing rapidly. With the nuclear family system, children get very little support from grandparents or relatives. They spend little time with parents as both are working,” says Dr Abraham P Ruby, a counsellor from Head Faculty Sixth Sense Resources.

Rose, a counsellor at Mount Carmel College, says, “Parents should talk more to their children. By listening to them, they help the children realise that someone cares.”
“Parents should communicate with children on a regular basis. They should be more of a friend to their child. They can enforce rules in a friendly way,” says Shridevi, a concerned mother.

Another parent, Anitha, says, “Talking helps parents understand what is going on in the child’s mind. Parents need to be open-minded and allow the children to talk freely without being judged.”

“I will soon be launching a state-wide campaign through which I would like to help parents talk to their children. This will also encourage the student to talk in an environment that is free and unbiased and work towards removing the fear factor,” says Kiran, a professor at St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science.

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