Young Lives Matter: Student suicides are increasing, both govt and civil society need to do more

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Published: March 5, 2020 5:45 AM

Student suicides account for a significant portion of this.

Young Lives Matter, Student suicides, civil society, NCRB numbers,  suicide rate, suicide casesNCRB shows that in 2018, about 28 students committed suicide each day. (Representational image: Reuters)

India has the highest suicide rate amongst 15-29-year-olds globally, and the latest NCRB numbers highlight that the rate of suicide among youth has only been increasing. Student suicides account for a significant portion of this. Around 10,000 students have been committing suicide each year. NCRB shows that in 2018, about 28 students committed suicide each day. So, while 28,000 students committed suicide between 1999-2003, by 2014-18 this number had increased to 46,554. In fact, for 2014-18 quinquennial, there was a 26% increase in student suicides.

While an analysis by The Hindu shows that academic stress is no longer the primary reason—as per NCRB 2018 data, 1,529 suicides were rooted in failure in exams, and family issues, love affairs, and illness are also major contributing factors—the fact is that there is still not enough discussion around depression and suicides. Attitudes need to change if India is to address this problem. The first step is to start a serious debate on the issue in schools and colleges, and encourage more civil society groups and NGOs to start helplines and social media groups. Interestingly, while technology is rightly blamed for increasing self-imposed isolation and alienation, especially among the young, it can also be part of the solution—chatbots that are intended to fight depression among humans by addressing loneliness are an example.

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