The recent suicide of a 17- year old girl who set herself afire due to alleged harassment by her boyfriend has once again highlighted the spurt in teen suicides in the city and the country. While nobody can deny the rising pressure on students and young professionals today, some cases have prompted people to question whether children are simply losing the ability to cope with issues. In September, a student of class XII in Nagpur city had killed himself after being scolded and suspended for smoking in school.
Noted consulting psychologist Rita Aggarwal disagrees, saying, “I would blame the adults more than the children. Our generation is a bad role model, and there is a sense of alienation and helplessness among the youth today. The internet has led to an explosion of information and multi- cultural effects, and there is a lack of guidance as to how to deal with it. Most of our generation do not understand new technology and don’t have the inclination to learn from youngsters, which leads to a gap in understanding”.
The rising rate of teenage suicides has been an issue in the state of Maharashtra for quite a few years now, so much so that the BBC did a news report on the issue in 2010. While the BBC report only focused on teenage suicides in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government did a study on the issue growing across Maharashtra, roping in Mumbai’s reputed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to conduct the research. The TISS report blamed it on academic pressure.
According to a report by the National Crime Records Bureau, more than one lakh people (actual figure: 1, 34, 599) committed suicide in India in the year 2010 of which 11.8% killed themselves in the state of Maharashtra. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh had the fourth- highest percentage of suicides in the country, after Tamil Nadu (12.3%), and West Bengal (11.9%).
“There isn’t one particular reason to the rise in suicides. Suicides can also occur due to a pile- up of emotional pain and pressure”, John Thomas from Mumbai- based suicide prevention NGO Aasra told Nagpur Today, “Exams, peer pressure, employment issues and broken relationships are common causes. Any of them can be the final trigger point, beyond which a person can’t cope and gives up.”
“I remember in one of the schools when I had been invited for an EFT seminar, a student of standard IX came up to me and asked if life is all about studies, coaching classes, college, job and stress. My answer was a vehement No”, said Aliakbar Shabbir, Chief Operating Officer of Hi- Tech Well- Being Centre, “Instead, I taught and made him do a scientific breakthrough method called Emotional Freedom Technique. We did about two rounds, after which I asked him for feedback and he said ‘I can feel my energy moving and changing, it’s positive and it’s ok’. It took us less than two minutes to get rid of his negative emotions.”
City authorities have also woken up to the problem of rising suicides. The suicide prevention helpline launched by Rural SP (Superintendent of Police) Manoj Sharma and social worker Seema Sakhare had grabbed news headlines in May. City police had also increased police presence at Telangkhedi Lake as a precaution against post- result suicide attempts. The police have appealed to citizens to use the helpline 8888817666.
According to Rita Aggarwal, withdrawal from family and a sudden change in behavioural patterns are signs that parents and guardians need to look out for. Simple techniques and precautions, and basic counselling at the right time, can help save a life.