Suicide among school-going children is a growing concern around the world. Recently two student suicides within 4 days of each other in Kota, the coaching district of Rajasthan, shook the whole nation and brought the issue of student suicides in the limelight. Already Kota has registered 23 suicides in this year 2023 the highest so far in a year. This is a worrying trend. Suicide Prevention strategies for school-going children are a need of the hour in today’s competitive and fast-paced world.
The month of September is observed as the National Suicide Prevention Month worldwide. During this time, we remember the millions of people who have battled with persistent thoughts of committing suicide, the lives lost to suicide, and the people, families, and communities who have been affected. It is also a moment to spread inspirational messages and raise awareness about suicide prevention.
In this post as part of the awareness drive for National Suicide Prevention Month, let us understand the Risk factors and learn about helpful strategies that can prevent suicides in school-going children.
Some facts about Suicide
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines suicide as “death caused by self-inflicted injuries with the intention of dying from the result of such actions.
According to the WHO survey, the Indian national average of suicide is even higher than the global average and people in the age group of 15-29 years and elderly are at maximum risk.
Recent data shows that the number of suicides in India has increased by 60% since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teenage is a critical period of development where youngsters often grapple with various challenges, including academic pressure, bullying, peer pressure, body image , and mental health issues. As parents, educators, and communities, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to prevent suicide among school-going children and provide them with the support they need.
Understanding the Suicide Risks in School going children
Before we delve into Suicide prevention strategies, it’s essential to recognize the risk factors associated with suicide in school-going children:
- Mental Health Issues: Psychiatric diseases have a very strong association with suicide. Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can significantly increase the risk of suicide.
- Bullying: Persistent bullying can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
- Academic Pressure: Intense academic pressure and high expectations can cause excessive stress.
- Peer Pressure: Trying to fit in or conform to peer expectations can create emotional turmoil.
- Substance Abuse: Substance abuse like is often linked to suicidal thoughts, alcohol and opiates are the most common cause of reckless or violent behavior and suicide attempts.
- Family Problems: Issues like divorce, Emotional or sexual abuse, or neglect at home can increase feelings of isolation and despair.
- Previous Suicide Attempts: A history of previous suicide attempts increases the likelihood of future attempts.
- Genetics : A family history of mental health disorders like Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder , Depression etc., could predispose a child to developing suicidal tendency.
Key strategies to Prevent Suicides in School going Children
Suicide prevention in school-going children and adolescents is of paramount importance. Schools play a critical role in identifying, addressing, and preventing suicidal behavior among students. Here are some key strategies and considerations for suicide prevention in school settings: