World Health Organization Assistant Director-General Catherine Le Gals-Camus finds that more people around the world die from suicide than other causes. 1. According to Dr Anuradha Bose, associate professor in pediatrics who also works for the CMC’s department of community health, suicide is the third largest single cause of death among Indian youth between the ages of 15-19. One in every three cases of suicide in India is committed by people due to academic pressure.
2. A suicide is reported in India every 15 minutes and it is believed that there are many more cases of suicides that are not reported, so the actual number is very high.
3. Kerala, the state with the highest literacy rate in all of India also has the highest suicide rate which is an alarming factor for academic pressure.
4. The average suicide rate in India is 103 per 100,000 people compared with the worldwide average of 14.5 suicides per 100,000 people.
6. More than 100,000 people commit suicide in India every year and 3 people a day take their own lives in Mumbai.
The rate of suicide among females in India is close to three times that of males. The average rate for suicide among males in India is 58 for every 100,000 and 148 for every 100,000 women. This is contradicting to the situation in other parts of the world where the rate of suicides is high among men rather than women.
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Females, in contrast to males, characteristically are more open to ask for medical help and to communicate their anxieties and fears to significant others. Males tend to be acutely aware of feelings of sexual inadequacy or inadequacy of masculinity and believe it shameful to communicate such feelings. This seems to hold true for college-age males and females as well as adolescents.
Although the reasons for suicide in students are likely as varied as the people who commit them, there are some primary reasons for the high suicide rate in India. Here are some of the most common reasons for committing suicide in India.
1. Pressure to perform: In this modern age, from the moment the child is born, he’s brought up in a very competitive fashion. They are under tremendous pressure to deliver at schools well as sports and for competitive examinations.” Parents and society expect a lot from the children and the pressure to perform is high. A lot of students contemplate suicide because they could not achieve the good scores expected by their parents.
2. Family conflict, including domestic violence: India is losing the support that has traditionally come from the joint family system, as many couples now opt to live on their own, away from the rest of the family. There is less bonding and interaction with the family members and the feeling of neglect make the children feel unwanted and they get depressed.
3. Ragging: In few cases, ragging in colleges has been found reason for suicide in their first year. The emotional and humiliating treatment that the seniors give the juniors, make them want to forget everything by ending their lives.
4. Copy-Cat: Another explanation for the high teenage suicide rate was “copy-cat suicides” where children read about suicides in newspapers and decide to do the same thing themselves. There have been many incidents where children try to imitate suicides scenes from movies for fun and end up getting killed
5. Virtual Lifestyle: These days children are hooked to videogames and computer. The internet can be considered as boon or bane. Children have been sucked into the virtual world and they have been so addicted to it that they find it hard to live in the real world. This has led to many suicides as they have not been able to become normal again
The factors responsible behind the student suicide are quite different from other suicides like found in elders. The few trends have been observed in a survey in educational institutes across in US. Out of 2402 students, 1078 (45.8%) had psychological problems, half (1201 students) perceived problems in their role as students, 930 (45%) reported academic decline, 180 (8.82%) students reported that life was a burden, 122 (6%) reported suicidal ideas and 8 (0.39%) students reported suicidal attempt. There was significant correlation between student’s perception of life as a burden and class they were studying, mother’s working status, psychological problems and problems students experienced in relation to study, peers, future planning and with parents.
Biological Clues: Family history of mental illness including depression, puberty, cognitive impairments, disability, chronic illness, substance abuse, anxiety, mood disorders and conduct disorder
Sociological: Contagion, peer pressure, family conflicts, drug and alcohol abuse, other abuse, academic pressures; expectations of school, family and self; break-up in a relationship, interpersonal losses, legal or disciplinary issues, bullying/harassment, negative social environment, victimization experiences
Psychological: Negative self-talk like “I’m no good” or ” I am not worthy”; poor distress tolerance, poor resiliency, poor interpersonal problem-solving, black and white thinking, previous suicide attempt
Existential: failure to see the good in the world, hopelessness: “What’s the point – it’s not going to change”
The addressing of this social problem can be divided in two types-
Proactive- Raising awareness among the students community at large at not to feel depressed and communicating that suicide is not an end to problems.
Reactive – This communication for those who need help right at the moment. As suicide tendency is very ephemeral tendencies quite some time. If the patient can be counseled right at the moment than suicide can be avoided.
I would propose an integrated communication plan across the channels as they have different reach and richness.
Before going deeper we have to select the central communication idea for the campaign. As the basic problem is depression due to some failure , the value of life should be shown in all the campaign.
The central idea can be
Life is to live and not to end.
You can end you life, not problems.
The creative brief can be framed around what the chetan bhagat has mentioned in a address to students to a university-
Don’t be serious, be sincere. This quote has defined my work ever since. Whether its my writing, my job, my relationships or any of my goals. I get thousands of opinions on my writing every day. There is heaps of praise, there is intense criticism. If I take it all seriously, how will I write? Or rather, how will I live? Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It’s ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.
This can be divided further in different execution ideas-
Movies: – Few movies and documentary can be made which showcases the people who sometimes were depressed and thought of doing suicide have fought against the problem and become successful. The recently released film “3 idiots” portrays such a character in which a brilliant student commits suicide due to failure in the exams.
Textbooks:- Last page of text books can be devoted to such na motivationall stories about the people who did not do well in studies but able to make the histories in their field. People like Sachin Tendulkar , Bill gates , Mark Zukerberg who are college drop outs can be cited to make sure that text book and exams are not the end in itself.
Newspapers:- The stories of committing suicide should not be given prime importance as it may promote the copycat to further to take the path. Society should not sympathize with the people who commit suicide as it gives a signal to potential person to reach that destination.
Every college should have time to time personal interaction with their students and family members on their academic performance and behavioral changes if any. Research shows that timely personal counseling is the most successful factor in preventing suicide cases. If needed, a professional psychologist can be sought for effective counseling.
The counseling should be extended to parents and teachers. They also have to be educated that not every child can be best at everything and they have to find out their child’s interest. Recently released movie “Taree Zameen Par” showcases this that every child is good at something and we have to nurture their interest rather than imposing their will on the students. Some psychologist suggests that parents drives the things which they were not able to do during their times through their child an in this process they go beyond the capabilities of the child.
The overall personality of a student should be other parameter like sports and art also in students morale boosting.
Various help line is set up across the world who help the person who are depressed and counseling.
Few of the most popular one are as below-
http://www.samaritansofboston.org/ You are not alone.
A helpline in Mumbai, called Aasra, has been operating for several years to tackle the problem.
Connect to Young kids-
Face book page – Fight Against Growing Teenage SUICIDES having 768 likes
In January Samaritans hosts an annual memorial service open to all suicide survivors.
Dr. Anuradha Bose has begun a program of family life education, which includes information on sex and relationship for high school students which he hopes will help, but he admits it’s a small start to a big problem.
Maharastra, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Bombay Psychiatry Society (BPS) have launched an intitiative ‘Life is Beautiftul’ to locate syndromes of depression in child. They recently roped in Amir Khan as a Brand Ambassador fot hits.
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