“Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.” – Kat Calhoun
Though many might not know anyone who has ended his/her life, many of us know people who are left behind by the suicide of someone dear to them.
The one question every individual who has known someone who has killed oneself has asked regardless, that they yearn to have addressed more than any other, is just: why???? For what reason did their spouse, parent, friend, child end their own life?
Even if there is a suicide note, clearly stating the reason, haunting questions like, yes, they felt miserable to want to die, however for what reason did they feel that?
“People do not commit suicide because they are weak. They commit suicide because they have no reason to be strong.” – Caveman.
When a teen commits suicide, everyone is affected.
A total of 1,64,033 suicides were reported in India in 2021 – a 7.2 percent of increase compared to 2020 (1,53,052). The rate of suicides has increased by 6.2 percent.
The five states – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Karnataka accounted for 50.4 percent of the suicides reported in the country. Majority of suicides were reported in Maharashtra (22,207).
According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, India recorded a new high of 12,526 suicides by students. The percentage has sharply risen by 21.19 percent since 2019.
Another report by NCRB, in 2020, a student took their own life every 42 minutes; that is every day, more than 34 students die by suicide.
In past 3-4 months three students have allegedly died by suicide in Tamil Nadu. According to their suicide notes, they were afraid about doing badly in NEET, which is an entrance exam for admission into medical schools.
Mental health experts say that Covid – 19 lock downs have had devastating consequences for children. According to research, the suicidal tendencies are rising even in school children, especially during lock down. The students have experienced more parental pressure and domestic conflict, and still had to prepare for entrance examinations like NEET, JEE etc.
Societies use education as an instrument to make the next generation to become citizens. States use it to propagate their belief systems. Social reformers use it to uplift the downtrodden and liberate the masses from abuse.
In any case, the process can lead to unforeseen social disaster as academic misery.
India’s highly competitive academic assessment system is always stressful for students and the pandemic has made things worst.
It is disturbing that it is not being recognized as a momentous crisis. In India, the phenomenon of suicide is constantly individualized, allowing society to escape the responsibility. Researchers have long connected farmer’s suicides to India’s agrarian disaster; it is high time that common society begins viewing at student’s suicides as a sign of serious emergency of the country’s educational system – counting the institutional design, syllabus and so forth.
Suicide should be seen as a multifaceted mental health issue, having intricate connections with biological, cultural, financial, social, and psychological domains of individual and united existence.
Is scoring less marks in exams and not successful cracking it is the only thought in the kid’s mind taking such a drastic and horrific step at such a tender age? Is failure to get admission in a top institute and make a successful career are the only reasons???
Doesn’t it have to do something with low self-esteem, failure of parents to prioritize the mental health of their kids along with academic grades, to prepare them to face adverse circumstances and failures with courage???
The illusion of the Indian family being supportive, and understanding should be called out. Family being the core unit of society is responsible for shaping the goals and dreams of the young. The rising number of suicides raises the question how helpful and compassionate these families are and are they or are they one of the basic factors to the rising number of student suicides.
In India, students studying in IIT and AIMS who are supposed to be the best in academics have ended their life, because they were not able to handle the pressure of expectations. It such a sad truth that the kids who excel in subjects like Math and Science have such reduced mental strength to face the challenges of life. Who is responsible for this?
It is not something they decide to do in a day. It is an ongoing process from years. The sadness and disappointment they suffer daily. The self-hatred, the judgments on making mistakes, the feeling that they do not belong anywhere. The reaching to a point where they have absolutely no hope for their future.
How can a teenager, a kid who is just 15 -16 years old, can be so depressed and in so much pain and agony that taking away his/her life feels easier than to face the rejection of parents and peers?
Does one need more courage to live than to kill himself?
There are multiple possible reasons as to “Why” specifically people commit suicide.
They despise themselves. They are in pain for such a long time that they cannot imagine a future without this pain, and they just want it to go away and would do anything to make it stop. And death is the only solution to them. They do not want to die but they just do not want to live like this anymore.
They can see no possible result in future that will make their current situation better. Since they feel so horrible and can never envision a future with any conceivable situation that will at any point cause them to feel good. Not success, fame, or money not even love. They have arrived at a place where they are totally without any faith or hope to their future.
They are into a condition which they abhor by force/ mistake by themselves or others. Because they did something so awful, no matter how much they make themselves understand, they cannot forgive themselves and cannot live with the onus. As a result, they believe they deserve to die as penalty.
They do not think they belong anywhere, be a part of a group and connect with others. They long for an association that they cannot find and feel so frantically desolate because of this that they feel so saturated of it that death feels like the ideal choice than spending another day feeling left out and alone.
Because of the rare glimpse of the feeling of happiness they experience a few times a year is so unequal to the amount of pity and disillusionment they suffer every day…. It is simply not worth the effort.
Because they have always been subjected to horrible and impassive treatment and never experienced anyone kind and caring anymore. That someone who is understanding and cares enough to hear them speak their mind is nothing more than a distant memory, an ancient history and totally missing in their everyday life.
As a parent you want the best for children. You work every day to protect them from harm. Sometimes that work means you must have some difficult somewhat uncomfortable conversations with them. A conversation about depression, anxiety can be tough, even awkward. Sometimes the parents are not even aware that their child is suffering from anxiety disorder or depressed about something. But you can have it without putting the young person at risk and it can prove to be very useful. Teachers, family members and parents could save a life of a child by identifying kids before they have a catastrophe or go years without treatment.
I am not saying it is going to be easy, but I do think it is extremely essential.
A few things to consider that would make a big difference for a young person:
Check in regularly. Talk to them. Communicate with them about their social life, their academics, is something bothering them. Parents are role models for children. If they talk openly about depression and anxiety without any judgement or view it differently as a sign of weakness – if they change what it means to be depressed, they change the message for generations to come.
Do not wait for crisis. Mostly we respond when there is an emergency. You can easily prevent that by being present with your child. It can be a car a drive, a picnic or at a dinner table.
Observe any changes in mood or behavior. It could be a warning sign that something is not right. For example, the child seems down stopped doing things he enjoyed doing, less talking and interaction, changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
I recently saw this short series, “This Is Going To Hurt.” I think it is the best short TV series I have ever seen. It is a British medical drama television series. It has a character named Doctor Shruti Acharya, who starts as an unconfident SHO but very keen and interested and by the end she has made huge professional strides and bosses it demonstrably. But then she just gets burnt out – long shifts, rude and unsupportive boss, no personal life, fulfilling the expectations of parents – she finally gives up…… Even after clearing her exams, she has been obsessing about and worked really really hard for, successfully handling complicated deliveries on her own, she did not rate it as success or achievement. She was so depressed with her life, despite becoming a successful doctor and her achievements.
One of the Seniors, at her service says, “She was a dedicated and committed doctor, who passed her Part One exam first time. Depression is cruel and is Shruti’s case, silent. While she was clearly doing well at work, there were other forces at play.”
Is it so easy to say I quit??!!!
If a child can speak 3 languages, do advanced math, or get good grades, but cannot practice Conflict Resolution, Handle Stress or Manage their Emotions, none of that other stuff is going to matter.