In a second incident within a month, a 22-year old student of IIT Madras allegedly committed suicide. Every year, we are seeing incidents of students in Kota, unable to handle extreme pressure, ending their lives.
What are we doing to prevent these unfortunate incidents of students suicides?
We have counselling departments in schools and colleges. We have NGOs dedicated to suicide prevention in youth. But are they really effective? Are these counselling services really helping students overcome depression and anxiety?
It’s important to understand the causes of depression which are forcing our young boys and girls to end their lives. And what we as a society, education providers and government institutions can do to stop these unfortunate incidents.
Here are the top three reasons of depression which are responsible for increase in suicidal tendencies among our youth.
1. Exam/Academic Pressure
I work for an e-learning organization which prepare students for engineering and medical entrance examinations. It’s part of my job to ask students to join our courses.
Recently a student who is preparing for such an exam asked me a question where he said this, “I am terribly depressed these days and I want to end my life.”
Every year, we hear about students doing suicides because of exam stress. They were unable to cope up with the rigorous preparation.
When a student says that it’s too much for him and he can’t handle the pressure, I encourage him to not prepare for the exam and do something else.
Life is not that cheap to throw away for an exam.
An appeal to every parent: Please don’t force your ambitions on your child. Listen to them, monitor them and love them. That’s all they need.
The success in life is all about interests and keep doing what you like. Even if you have not decided what you want to become, then it’s also fine. One day you will find something worth pursuing.
If you can’t figure out the future, what do you do? Leo Babauta from zen habits says this,
“Don’t focus on the future. Focus on what you can do right now that will be good no matter what the future brings. Make stuff. Build stuff. Learn skills. Go on adventures. Make friends. These things will help in any future.”
2. Bullying and Ragging
Bullying is one of the worst thing that can happen to a student. Shy and introvert students get most affected by this mental torture.
Bullying can have long severe effects even after passing school or college. The psychological effects from bullying become so deep it can change a person’s outlook on life.
Bullying has not confined to school premises, Internet has made it much easier to bully people. Continuous bashing through email, social media or any other online platform makes it very easy to mentally attack someone.
Yes, we can have counselors and psychologists to deal with it in schools, but it’s also a responsibility of parents.
Kids are immature, they can adapt to whatever surrounds them. We all want to teach our children some important lessons in life. One of them is to not make fun of someone and stand against the practice of bullying.
The thing as a parent you never want to hear is, “The kid committed suicide and your child, directly or indirectly, is responsible for it.”
Ragging is no fun.
There are other ways of opening up with new students. As a senior, when you force a fresher to sing a song in front of the entire class when he/she has introvert nature, it’s not good. When you tell a boy or girl to do something that make them shameful, it’s not cool.
We have banned ragging and opened helplines also, still ragging happens in some colleges and in hostel premises. It’s time to stop ragging completely. Seniors should be made aware of the unfortunate consequences of ragging.
3. Love/Relationship Issues
We are seeing so many incidents where young boys and girls end their lives because of love and relationship issues. In schools and colleges, students get involved in relationships and when things don’t go well, sometimes they fall into depression. The minds of these young kids are not matured enough to deal positively with these delicate issues.
What if I am in love with someone and don’t get her, What will happen? Honestly, I will feel bad, alone, but life will go on. I will keep doing my job, will give my 100%, because I love working.
Love comes with maturity. I am a mature person but these young students in our schools and colleges may be not. Parents in our middle class society somehow underestimate these type of issues. It’s important that parents are available as friends to their children. A child should be comfortable to talk any issue with the parents.
When we are young, we all want to be independent and like to do things which are right according to us. We have every right to be in love or relationship, but at the same time we have to realize that our parents, family and loved ones lives depends on us. We should never give them a lifetime pain that would be impossible to heal.
Care and Compassion is the Cure for Depression
Some people (even psychologists) believe that depression is just a state of mind. It’s not true.
Depression and Mental illness is not all in your head,
Saying that depression is something that’s “all in your head so just work it out”, is like saying cancer is “all in your body, so just exercise and it will go away”.
Whether due to study pressure, bullying, ragging, love-relationship issues, or any other stress, it feels so sad when I see students end their lives because of depression. They could have spoken to someone about their problems.
We need awareness and honest counselling that can listen to students problem, and more than medical treatment, they need care and compassion.
TheFriendshipBench (#yellowisforhello) is a great initiative from my friend Danny Brown which helps students on mental health and depression issues in schools in Canada. We need similar types of efforts in our schools.
It’s a collective responsibility of parents, schools, colleges and all education providers to save our children from the hazards of depression.
We’re listening to students.
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