‘On 10th April, a 21 year old student committed suicide in Delhi, blames her boyfriend‘; ‘24 year old Arun Bhardwaj uploads video on suicide tutorial before jumping to death from Bandra hotel in Mumbai on 3rd April‘; ‘Second year student of IIT-BHU in Varanasi commits suicide on 4th April.’
This is the kind of news we see everyday, and their frequency has increased so much so that we have gotten used to it, haven’t we? We just sigh and call it just another case and move along or scroll down our timelines, or skip to the next piece of news. Why? Why is this increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in India? Or, is all of this, just a result of lack of effective action? Whatever the reason may be, this issue needs to be addressed.
Each year, between 30 and 40 people per 100,000 Indians aged between 15 and 29 kill themselves. This accounts for about a third of all suicides in the country. Every hour, a student commits suicide in the country. Experts say India’s suicides are a result of its traditionalist middle-income residents transitioning to an increasingly globalised landscape. But does that amount to be the only cause?
A common cause for concern is the pressure from parents to do well in the national board examinations, especially for Class XII, before finishing school. As scores in these exams often determine college admissions and subsequent employment opportunities, students aged 16-18 are often subjected to undue pressure at home to succeed. When they don’t, suicide becomes a way out. Moreover, psychiatrists say that consequences of gender bias are among the leading cause of suicides among young women. Independent decision-making, wanting to postpone marriage and premarital sex are some factors that clash with traditional parenting styles, while physical and mental abuse and mental disorders could exacerbate suicidal tendencies.
It is probably for these reasons that, according to the NCRB, the most common reason cited for a suicide was “family problems“.
Other than family problems being the leading problems and subtle hints that serve as precursors of suicide are anxiety levels, insecurity, depression, stress. Students go through immense amount of stress, nowadays. Mostly, it is due to exam pressure, or stress of failing, or not getting into a desired college, or not being able to clear an entrance exam. Our Indian education system drives students towards intense cut-throat competition in every field. Students unable to cope with this, see suicide as the only way out. But is that the only way to deal with pressure? Emotional tension and stress has also come up as a leading precursor to suicide. We hear a lot of students dealing with breakups, and other relationship and love issues succumbing to suicide. Why? Has our thread of emotional tolerance thinned through all these years? Are our endurance levels almost nil now? Why is ending of life seen as the only option to the most trivial issues nowadays?
The 21 year old committed suicide because her boyfriend was threatening her. A 24 year old in Mumbai committed suicide because he had a drug problem and ‘didn’t want to live anymore’. Another boy committed suicide because he couldn’t deal with the pressure faced by him in a leading engineering college. A friend of my friend’s attempted to commit suicide twice or thrice because she felt lonely and supposedly didn’t have friends.
THIS needs to stop. These trivial problems are in no way whatsoever justified to end one’s life. Life is precious and ought not to be wasted like this. Everybody comes with a purpose to fulfill, and should live life to their fullest. The increasing rates of suicides in this context is disheartening. Come to think of people diagnosed with diseases such as Cancer. They struggle to live everyday of their lives. Each passing day brings them closer to the realization of their death day being near. Still, yet still, we see them living happier than most other humans nowadays. On the other hand, we see people wasting away so much of their potentiality and life on suicide.
Another problem faced is that many of these cases go unreported. This may happen due to various reasons. The family might not want to popularize their family demise, or other reasons. Also lack of action by the police just adds to the problem. Supposedly, in the case of the 21 year old girl committing suicide, she went to the police, but they didn’t help her out when she complained of her boyfriend threatening her. Later when she actually committed suicide, an FIR was then filed and the accused was caught. Lack of action by authorities is hence one aspect that seriously needs to be looked into and made more efficient in this respect.
Coming to how this could be overcome – Firstly, you never know who might be thinking of suicide, nowadays. Detect signs of increased stress, insecurity, or depression in your friends or common friends. If you do, try to talk to them. If the situation seems severe, try talking to their parents to make them aware of the situation and ask them to go see a counsellor regarding this. Counseling is an important step towards saving lives, if you put it that way. The government announcement of decriminalizing suicide is the rational thing to do: after all, those who attempt suicide do so for lack of social, economic and emotional resources. “People with suicidal tendencies deserve counselling, not legal action,”, was the statement given by Parliamentarians. It will also ensure that young Indians under stress are ‘not punished for cracking’. After all, India has one of the world’s highest rate of suicides among people aged between 15 years and 29 years. Professional help is key, but so is the support of people around you. Encourage people who you think might be suffering from something like this. Mass awareness across campuses should take place, wherein depression and other mental health problems and issues are openly defined and discussed in detail, after which trained experts should be made accessible and available.
Acknowledging the problem is the biggest step. The difference between doing it and not doing it is a very thin line. Many people battle depression and other stress, insecurity, substance abuse and relationship issues daily and emerge victorious. Do not be overtly dependent on others so much so that they might influence your decisions to live. Reconnect with yourselves, remind yourself of the amazing family and friends around you and how they would be affected by any drastic step you might take.
Because, all lives matter and each life is as precious as any other. So, let’s not give up and battle this out together, shall we?