|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Discuss why suicidal deaths among Indian youth is increasing? Give some measures to prevent suicidal tendencies among Indian youth.
Conclusion. Way forward.
Approximately half of India’s 1.2 billion people are under the age of 29, making it one of the youngest countries in the world. Unfortunately, India has the highest suicide rate in the world among the youth standing at 35.5 per 100,000 people in 2012. Suicides in India have become increasingly prevalent and are increasing especially in the younger age groups. India accounts for over a third of the world’s annual female suicides and nearly a fourth of male suicides, a significant increase in its global share from 1990.
Reasons for rise in suicide among Indian youth:
- Family problems: With urbanisation and the breakdown of the traditional large family support system, suicide tendencies increases. The clash of values within families is an important factor for young people in their lives. As young Indians become more progressive, their traditionalist households become less supportive of their choices pertaining to financial independence, marriage age etc.
- Unemployment: Unemployment rate in India is very high. According to the National Sample Survey Office, India’s unemployment rate is 6.1%, the highest in 45 years. Such a high rate of unemployment lead to pressure among youth and depression, which is one of reason of suicide. In Sikkim About 27% of the state’s suicides were related to unemployment and found to be most common among those between 21 and 30 years of age.
- Failure in exams: A common cause for suicide is inability to tolerate the pressure from parents to do well in the examinations. Students aged 16-18 are often subjected to undue pressure at home to succeed. In 2013 alone, 2,471 suicides were attributed to failure in examination. Academic pressure, social pressures, and the breakdown of support systems is major cause of suicide among youth.
- Lack of professional help: Professional help is difficult to find. According to a report by India Spend, India has 87% shortage in mental-health professionals. The situation is exacerbated by low public spending on mental health. India spends even less than Bangladesh on mental-health services.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse too is a significant factor in young suicides. According to the National Mental Health Survey (2015-16) more than 22% of India’s population over 18 years suffers from a substance disorder, including alcoholism, use of tobacco and drug abus
- Social neglect: Low focus and the taboo associated around mental health is also one of the reasons. The youth does not present such situations often and the parents try to hide it to avoid the social stigma of mental illness
- Teacher training: Student suicides can be averted, by training and sensitisation sessions for teachers. Teachers can easily gauge suicidal tendencies among students. They must be trained on how to communicate with children and make children talk about their problems with them.
- School reforms: Schools and colleges need to foster a culture of understanding and trust, where students feel free and safe to talk about issues like bullying and anxiety. Institutes can look for solutions like allowing volatile students to take a gap year or starting courses for parents to help them understand the importance of being more receptive to their children’s needs.
- Promoting coping skills: The National Mental Health Policy identifies a range of vulnerable groups for protection. It is vital that organisations and governments should support mental health education and promote coping skills in youth. Mental health education and resources for dealing with symptoms of mental health should be taught and promoted from an early age.
- Spending on mental health: India does not spend enough on mental health. Currently, it spends 0.06% of its health budget on mental health. Government must spend more on mental healthcare. It is important to increase medical seats pertaining to mental health professionals.
- Employment generation: In the current scenario in India, employment opportunities are shrinking. Policies including for self-employment require to be framed, quality of education needs to be strengthened, and the feeling that education has not made them employable needs to be addressed.
India needs change, especially in its approach towards mental health and suicide. Stigma of seeing mental health with an ignorant attitude relatedto itneeds to be removed. The lives of students are not dependent on a change in government, but on affirmative action of everyone in the society.