New Delhi: Caught between the thirst to pursue their dreams and pressure to fulfil the expectations of society, many young students in India are taking the extreme decision to swiftly end their lives.
Today, youths in India form one of the most vulnerable groups. On the one hand, they are expected to be leaders — the backbone of tomorrow’s India — while on the other, they are a browbeaten and baffled cluster.
The striking imbalance between the youth population and limited opportunities for admission in schools and colleges, specifically in professional courses, puts young people under great pressure.
Youth suicide is when a young person, generally categorised as someone below age 20, deliberately ends his own life.
If drugs, alcohol and firearms are the typical routes to self-destruction in the West, it is mostly examination stress and inability to cope with academic disappointments in India.
As a large number of students on Wednesday thronged the Villupuram hospital in Tamil Nadu, about 170km from capital Chennai, demanding action against the management of a private medical college where three girl students committed suicide on Saturday, the content of their suicide note continues to evoke shock and anger.
Mismanagement, lack of facilities and exorbitant fees were mentioned by the trio as reasons for suicide.
Meanwhile, protests over Hyderabad university scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide continued even after ten days.
A Dalit himself, Vemula ended his life over caste persecution at the University of Hyderabad.
According to a study by National Institute of Mental Health And Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), getting admitted into an institution is not the toughest thing a youth can ever experience, rethink. Placements into programmes are also tough. You need to get everything right.
The latest all-India figures compiled by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that 8,631 students (aged 10-19 years), ended their lives in 2014.
The number of students who committed suicide increased 26.58 per cent between 2012 and 2013, from 6,654 to 8,423. This was when the nationwide total had dipped 0.47 per cent from 1,35,445 in 2012 to 1,34,799 in 2013, which translates into 11 out of every 100,000 Indians.
“Youth is a period of heightened risk of suicide and suicide is a leading cause of death among young people in India,” says Dr M. Manjula, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS.
“What is bothering the current adolescent generation is stress due to academics, relationship with parents, peer groups and romantic relationships.
“Youth are too sensitive to sort any sort of relationship problem. The problem may be anything; fight with best friends, bitter misunderstanding with girlfriend/ boyfriend followed by an even bitter break-up, family issues with parents fighting over their lives or over financial issues.”
Being a teenager has never been easy. But in the new millennium, amid unprecedented prosperity, growing up seems to have become more trying than ever for Indian teens. “When it comes to student suicides, the most vulnerable group are ones studying in class 10 and 12,” psychologist and counsellor Dr T. Chandrashekara told Gulf News. “Under extreme pressure at home and school, students believe that if they score less percentage in exams, their families will not accept them. To prevent them from resorting to extreme steps, students have to be prepared to accept various setbacks in life. Also, their ability to cope with pressure needs to be developed.”