Rise in student suicides: what schools can do on their part to reduce – World Affairs SRS

Rise in student suicides: what schools can do on their part to reduce

– World Affairs SRS

Rise in student suicides: What schools can do to reduce suicidal tendencies among students

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According to the Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India Report (ADSI) released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), India saw an alarming number of student suicides in the pandemic-hit 2020. The rising cases of suicides among students in 2020 as compared to 2019 have been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has completely affected the educational landscape apart from disruption and cessation of other normal activities. Going deeper into the ADSI 2020 report reveals that a total of 12526 students resorted to suicide in 2020 out of which 6967 were male students while 5559 were female. This implies that India recorded a suicide rate of over 34 a day, which was engulfed in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Among students who took the extreme step in 2020, matriculation and secondary level students topped the list with a suicide rate of 23.4%, followed by higher secondary students with a suicide rate of 15.9%. If 2019 data is to be cited, 10335 students ended their lives where again there was an increase in matriculation and secondary level students, who exhibited a suicide rate of 23.3%, that of middle level students second by 19.6%. An analysis of data from 1995 onwards reveals that India had the highest number of student suicides in 2020, despite less exam pressure and students being promoted to further classes without appearing for the exam.

Psychiatrists and mental health experts say that apart from the fear of contracting the COVID-19 disease, unprecedented circumstances, declining social interactions, dire economic conditions of families and academic challenges induced by new ways of learning are some of the important trigger points. giving rise to suicidal tendencies among students.

In view of the same, child and adolescent psychiatrists and mental health experts have come up with some excellent strategies for the schools of the country to keep the mental health of the students under control and prevent such untoward incidents. He has also said that necessary steps should be ensured at the earliest to prevent the recurrence of student suicides every year. Some of them are listed here:

  1. Schools should start screening students: The first and foremost aspect that psychiatrists have emphasized is that schools should initiate engagement among students, especially during tough times like the lockdown, which promotes the emotional well-being of the students. This comprehensive strategy is also useful in easily identifying and providing immediate assistance to a student suffering from mental health issues. Keeping the physical distancing norms in mind, schools can use virtual mode to implement it.
  2. Schools should engage in virtual recreational activities such as: According to experts, the school staff can take stock of tensions among the students, which possibly include social isolation due to home confinement, abuse and violence, disrupted routines, food insecurity etc. Thereafter, the school staff can organize mindfulness activities for the students such as arts and crafts sessions, workout sessions, music sessions, comedy sessions or other recreational activities that lift the student’s spirits.
  3. Schools should resort to tele-consultation sessions: To prevent mental transition, schools may also organize counseling sessions over telephone or online mode to address the negative emotions experienced by the students such as distress, fear, panic, anxiety and others. Such counseling sessions should be made compulsory for every student, which includes active participation of his/her parents, so that the mental agitation of the student is not noticed.



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