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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

suicides among the very young- a few facts

Farewell to worries - just a phone call / email away...

Whatever your cross, whatever your pain, there will always be sunshine, after the rain.... Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall; But God's always ready, to answer your call..... He knows every heartache, sees every tear, a word from His lips, can calm every fear...

Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night, But suddenly vanish, dawn's early light.. The Savior is waiting, somewhere above, to give you His grace, and send you His love... God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage

Suffering is a product of limited knowledge

Student Suicides in India - Key Facts

We have been collating information from various media outlets and research papers on Student Suicides in India. The following are relevant excerpts from various media reports which put forth a stark reality in front of us...

a. This is not a periodic phenomenon, as some suggest
(indicated by a slump in media reportage as well)

b. the numbers are very disturbing and demand concrete solutions in terms of the way we perceive and practice learning and education in India

c. no current and/or concrete data is available on this issue!!

Please feel free to add to the below stats. Its a work in progress and is merely indicative and not exhaustive. Information will not only empower but also enlighten all.

1. In 2006, 5,857 students — or 16 a day — committed suicide across India due to exam stress. And these are just the official figures

[Source: TOI, March 2008, Report]

2. The study (conducted 10 years back) had found that 16 per cent of Mumbai students were depressed - that is 2 per cent more than the students in Boston. It also found that 8 percent of these were suicidal.

3. Today, 10 years later, researchers say things could be worse.
- Statistics show that India has the highest suicide rate in the world, marginally behind China, but ahead of the west
- 95-100 people commit suicide in India every day
- And of these a whopping 40% are in the adolescent age group
[Source: CNN-IBN Report, Jan 13 2010]

4. Crime Records Bureau figures show India’s suicide rate has risen 8 per cent a year for 10 years. According to a 2007 estimate, 45 per cent of suicides involve people between 15 and 29. And WHO lists suicide among the top three causes of death in the age group 15-35.

5. The motive when students kill themselves is invariably academic pressure - this accounts for 99 per cent suicides in the age group 12-18 - but psychiatrists sought to assess why the trend has risen of late and put it down to three reasons: deprivation of sunshine, exam results, and the copycat syndrome.

6. Distressed teenagers account for 70 per cent of the phone calls to a helpline run by NGO Aasra, says founder Johnson Thomas.

[Source: Express India, Jan 10 2010]

7. The leading mental health institution in India, the National Institute of Mental Health and Mental Sciences in Bengaluru, has been involved in several studies to understand why the rates of people taking their own lives, particularly younger people, are on the rise.

8. In the last formal study conducted in 2007, the Institute found that 122,637 people ended their own lives and for every successful act, it estimated that 8-10 attempts go unreported.

9. Nearly three-fourths of those taking their own lives were aged 16-45 years.

10. Bengaluru topped the list of cities where the largest number had taken place, followed by Chennai. In New Delhi data collected from 1,205 adolescents (aged 12-19 years) in two schools revealed that, on average, one in seven adolescents had thought about ending their life.

11. A lack of methods to help identify youngsters at risk further hinders prevention efforts.

[Source: Guardian, Jan 28 2010]

12. Since the start of 2010, more than 20 students have killed themselves in Mumbai, India’s financial capital

The Big Ten Student Suicide Study: a 10-year study of suicides on midwestern university campuses.
Silverman MM, Meyer PM, Sloane F, Raffel M, Pratt DM.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, IL 60637-1507, USA.

The Big Ten Student Suicide Study was undertaken from 1980-1990 to determine the suicide rates on Big Ten University campuses. The study design attempted to address many of the statistical and epidemiological flaws identified in previous studies of campus student suicides. The 10-year study collected demographic and correlational data on 261 suicides of registered students at 12 midwestern campuses. The largest number of suicides for both males and females were in the 20-24-year-old age group (46%), and amongst graduate students (32%). The overall student suicide rate of 7.5/100,000 is one half of the computed national suicide rate (15.0/100,000) for a matched sample by age, gender, and race. Despite the overall lower suicide rate, the analyses revealed that students 25 and over have a significantly higher risk than younger students. Although women have rates roughly half those of men throughout their undergraduate years, graduate women have rates not significantly different from their male counterparts (graduate women 9.1/100,000 and graduate men 11.6/100,000).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Publication Types, MeSH Terms

Experts to study student suicide cause
Yogita Limaye Yogita Limaye , CNN-IBN
Updated Jan 13, 2010 at 02:10pm IST
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Mumbai: India's suicide figures have risen starkly over the past decade - even worse than the west. Mumbai has seen nine student suicides in the past week.

Researchers now hope to study the depression quotient amongst the city's youth after worrying figures have come to light in 2010. The last such survey was done 10 years ago and the results then too were alarming.

Director Psychiatry Research, Jaslok Hospital, Dr Rajesh Parikh says, "What we found 10 years ago was that students in Mumbai were more depressed than those in Boston."

The study had found that 16 per cent of Mumbai students were depressed - that is 2 per cent more than the students in Boston. It also found that 8 per cent of these were suicidal.

Today, 10 years later, researchers say things could be worse.


Statistics show that India has the highest suicide rate in the world, marginally behind China, but ahead of the west.

95-100 people commit suicide in India every day.

And of these a whopping 40% are in the adolescent age group.

So what's pushing our students over the edge?

Associate Director Psychiatry Research, Jaslok Hospital, Dr Shamshah Sonwalla says, "They are dealing with so many things, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, dating, peer pressure the huge academic pressure."

Over the next few months researchers will be visiting campuses across the city and interviewing students, but the recent spate has even got the city corporation worried which has planned meetings with top psychiatrist to find a solution to the worrying trend.

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