Children their parents hardly know

-Representational image -Representational image

Suicidal tendency among school and college students has risen alarmingly as more than 532 students took their own lives last year. And every month on average 37 students committed  suicide in 2022. Majority (about 84 per cent) of the suicide victims were school and college students, while the rest (16 per cent) were university students. Based on media reports on suicide cases, a private body, Aachol Foundation, came up with these shocking findings.  The findings further showed that close to 64 per cent of the suicide victims are girls and 36 per cent boys.

The fact that adolescent boys and girls are more prone to suicide and that their deaths could have been avoidable are quite known among the researchers and those concerned.  In the countryside, in the past when the use of very powerful insecticides in agriculture was widespread, reports of young housewives and girls committing suicide by drinking endrin were common. Frequency of such suicide reports from particular areas, for example, Jhenaidah district in southwestern Bangladesh, would mystify many.  Such high number of suicide-related deaths among the young wives and girls were blamed on the containers, usually glass bottles, being within the easy reach of the victims. And the victims' being too impulsive, which young boys and girls always are, was another reason of their suicidal tendencies. But as usual, a systematic study on these suicide cases was few and far between.  Moreover, society was not very sympathetic to the suicide victims. For, it was thought that by their act, the suicide victims brought disgrace to the family. But, of late, in the urban educated families, positive changes are taking place in the attitude of the families, and to some extent, of the society, towards suicide victims. But efforts to address the problem at the family and social levels are practically missing.

 So, the question is if the findings of the present study will have any impact on the bereaved families and the society at large.

The families of the suicide-victims need also to do some soul-searching: could they prevent the tragedies from happening? What went wrong with the way they behaved with their children? Did they demand too much from their children regarding their school/college performance, a pressure they could not stand? Or, were they too preoccupied with their work and thus distanced themselves from their children? And if through that gap in the bond between parents and children did enter alienation, frustration, depression, drugs and other such demons finally made their children self-destructive! And society at large cannot also wash its hands of the issue by only expressing concerns over these gratuitous deaths. The government needs to recognise that the increasing trend of suicides among the    adolescents including those in the educational institutions is a national problem. Furthermore, it has to be recognised that here society is dealing with the Generation Z, or Gen Z, in short, who are aged between 11 and 26 years and are familiar with the internet and digital technology since their birth.  Their world is quite different from the millennials (aged between 27 and 41 year), let alone the pre-millennials. Already alienated from family and other members of society due to the digital bubble they live in, thanks to the social media that created it, they are indeed alien to their parents and the older guardians. So, what drives them to take their own lives may not be the same as those that influenced members of the pre-social media generations to take similar extreme decisions. In that case, the traditional approach to deal with their problems may not be fully applicable. 

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