Source : The Times of India, Last updated : 7 Sep 2020,6:16 am

One every hour: At 10,335, last year saw most student suicides in 25 years

One every hour: At 10,335, last year saw most student suicides in 25 years
BENGALURU: In 2019, at least one student died by suicide every hour in India. The year recorded the highest number of student suicides, 10,335, in the past 25 years for which data is available.
Between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2019, India lost more than 1.7 lakh students to suicide. Of these, nearly 52% were reported in the past decade, while the remaining 85,824 were reported between 1995 and 2008, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Both sociologists and psychologists TOI spoke with said depression, mental health issues and addiction to drugs were the most common reasons.

Dr MS Dharmendra, consultant psychiatrist, Manasa Neuropsychiatric Hospital, told TOI: “Coping mechanisms and support systems are important. Biological factors like genetic predisposition to mental illnesses also play a role. A person with a higher level of predisposition may go on to develop a clinical illness which can become a risk factor for self-harm or suicide. It depends on how they are able to handle stress.”

While 2019 saw the highest number of student suicides in absolute terms, this category accounted for 7.5% of overall suicides (1.39 lakh), which is marginally less compared to 7.6% in 2017 which saw 9,905 cases. However, the overall number of suicides in 2017 was more than 7% lower than in 2019.

A statewise analysis in 2019 shows that just five — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh — account for more than 44% of 10,335 student suicides that year.

Child rights activists also point out that many students, especially those above the age of 10 or 12 years, struggle to find avenues to vent their anxiety, which makes stress management difficult.

Between 1995 and 1999, student suicides accounted for more than 5.2% on average, with 1995 (6.6%) being the worst year. In five years between 2000 and 2004, only one year saw student suicides making up 5.5% of the total suicides, while it was under 5% in four years and 5% in 2001. From here, the next five years also saw such cases being under 5.5%.

Between 2010 and 2014, the last two years saw such cases make up more than 6% of the total. From there, every year has seen such cases account for more than 6%. In the past four years, such cases have accounted for more than 7% of the total suicides.
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