According to latest data submitted to the ministry of home affairs by all the gates and union territories of India, over 26,000 students committed suicide in three years from 2014. There were 9474 student suicide cases reported in 2016, which accounts to almost one suicide every hour.
The situation is alarming because there are no specific causes known for this. Forced career choices, fear of failure, poor performance in exams, discrimination due to caste, are some of the motives behind this drastic step. Failure which accounts to about a quarter of these suicides, is certainly not the reason for all of them. Are the conditions so disheartening that the youth would want to end their lives instead of trying to sort it out or seek help?
Mental health awareness is at an all time low in the country. There is a stigma attached to talking openly about mental issues. Seeking help from a psychologist or a counsellor is considered to be for the crazy people. In the traditional family structure, if a need for counselling arises, a family member or a relative take up the job who aren’t without their own prejudices and judgements. The generation gap also creates a communication gap which is very difficult for elders with staunch traditional values and youth with a rebellious streak.
India is in dire need of resources in the mental health sector. There are less than 5,000 psychiatrists in India currently and only about 2,000 clinical psychologists for a population of 1.3 billion. These numbers are not enough to fulfill the needs of a country that has a large number of youth population who are facing cut throat competition with little mental support.
In order to ensure that the country doesn’t lose talented youth with high potential, the education system in India needs to inculcate mental health programme for students. The stigma around mental health issues need to be removed in order to encourage students to seek help rather than commit suicide. On World Suicide Prevention Day, remember that the youth are the treasure of our country. Losing them to social stigma would be the worst way to lose them.
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The CSR Journal Team