In the data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018. There had been a sharp increase from 9,905 in 2017 and 9,478 in 2016. In 2019 there was a spike of 3.4 percent suicide rates. This upsetting phenomenon is a common cause of an induced form of death. According to official statistics, the teen suicide rate is rising. Hopeless parents are looking for answers to prevent it.
To understand suicide we must first understand the teen mind. It is a mystery to parents how their calm and happy child turns into an angry teen. The reason is a child’s brain experiences dramatic changes during the teen years. In simple terms, the teens do not have a fully developed adult brain.
Suicide: Societal influences lead to mental disorders like anxiety, eating disorder all kick in during the teen years.
Dr Gauri Karkhanis, consultant clinical and social psychologist, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, explained to TOI, “Teens go through an identity crisis as both the mind and body are changing. They are confused and trying to come to grips with who they are mentally as well as physically. And teens who do not have a healthy support system and coping skills often succumb to suicidal thoughts.”
Moreover, Dr. Siri Kamath, Consultant Physician, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, Bengaluru explained, “Children during their teen years develop a new sense of identity, new ideas regarding what they want to achieve in their lives. By the time the child reaches his teens, parents have formed solid notions of what the child’s day to day behavior should be and what the child should achieve in his or her life. And then teenage hits. This is where disappointments kick in.”
What triggers teen suicide?
In India, there exists 17.8 percent of all reported suicide cases. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, India accounted for 381 suicides daily for the year 2019. Mental health experts think that doctors ignore mental illness while assessing the cause of death. Prakriti Poddar, Mental Health Expert and MD at Poddar Foundation said, “One of the leading causes of suicide is often cited as a failure in examinations. Parents and investigative authorities don’t usually look further.” She adds, “However, it is high time we address the fact that many teens who commit suicide have some sort of underlying mental health problem. Teenagers often have a tough time coping with stress. They are because of failures, rejection, and family turmoil. They are often unable to see that they can turn their lives around, and suicide appears to be a permanent solution to what is really a temporary problem.”
Signs and factors leading to suicide
Dr Kamath stressed, “The capability and worthiness of a child are judged solely on the basis of academic achievements and society, in general, is not open-minded enough to respect non-scholastic achievements. Such highly polarized judgmental opinions within the family can lead to dejection and the situation may appear to be insurmountable for some children, causing them to take the extreme step of committing suicide.”
Read NCRB’s official report on suicide in India https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/chapter-2-suicides-2018.pdf
These factors include depression, being the victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse, addiction, bullying, marginalization due to sexual orientation, and a family history of suicide. Parents need to keep in mind the obvious signs of suicidal tendencies. These include talk of suicide, social withdrawal, mood swings, drug use, changes in routine, self-destructive behavior, severe anxiety, and personality changes.
Is modern parenting a cause?
Dr Gauri added, “As a parent, it is always important to be aware of what is going on. They should have a nonjudgmental attitude so the child is able to talk to them about issues freely. Be extremely aware of their changes and have empathy. Guide them and let them know that it is OK to not be OK. It is OK to feel down. Give them ample space to deal with their issues, while extending support throughout. There are times when the child may not be able to confide in parents, so take them to an expert. The purpose should be to help them wade through difficult situations and times.”
There is a constant urgency in parents to protect their kids from any pain or failure. Parents need to understand that their role is also providing support and love. Furthermore, the teenager must also be guided to resolve the issue.
Follow the suicide story that shook India https://www.globalyouthvoice.com/celebritysuicide-reel-dhoni-dies-of-suicide/