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Student suicides: How do we prevent them?

Last updated on: January 05, 2010 16:13 IST
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A 12-year-old Mumbai boy ended his life in school yesterday, by hanging himself in the bathroom.

In an unrelated incident the same morning, a 23-year-old student believed to have run away from his village in Punjab, jumped to his death from Vasai Fort.

And two days before that, on January 2, an 18-year-old physiotherapy student committed suicide by hanging at her home in Powai.

While in the second case, the family of the boy claimed that he was mentally unstable and had run away from home, the other two youngsters were depressed because of their poor academic performance -- failure in examinations led them to take the drastic step.

Despite these tragedies coming to light time and again, and everyone from parents to teachers and counsellors taking steps to ensure that they are not replayed, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that we hear of more such instances every few months.

And it's not always familial pressure that gets to these youngsters -- as we're beginning to find out, it's often their failure to meet their own expectations. Sometimes, peers and siblings who excel in their studies add to that stress, leading them to believe they are incapable of the same achievements.

How do we prevent more such young lives being snuffed out too soon? Is it pressure to perform, the need to keep up with one's peers and family, uphold one's reputation?

Often, parents have no clue just how serious and deep-rooted a child's depression has gotten and they only learn of it when it's too late. A youngster's friends are in a better position to gauge their state of mind and be taken into confidence.

So how do you explain to your peers that suicide is not the solution to their troubles?

How do you read the warning signs and alert a friend's family if you think s/he may do something unpredictable?

Share your thoughts, experiences and opinions in this regard with us. Post your comments on the message board below -- who knows, you may just end up saving a life.

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Related News: Vasai Fort, Powai, Punjab