The World Health Organisation has defined Health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. Yes, that is what we have been taught right from our school days. But there is one issue that has not been addressed well or recognised when it comes to our country and especially our state or our society and that is Mental Health. We tend to ignore this part of the definition because our society has stigmatised it to the core.
Sad but many are dealing with mental health issues but they shut themselves up because of our ignorance regarding mental illness. Mental illness doesn’t really mean that a person has become a maniac or “mad/crazy”. With the increase of competition to fight for survival, in other words to be able to do well in studies, with the issues of unemployment, the pressures are just mounting up that our young people have been drained mentally.
Depression is increasing at an alarming rate each and every day but we fail to see the signs and symptoms within the youth community. Young People have strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt and financial uncertainty not able to secure a government job even though they have attained much academic merits etc, other risk factors such as sexual abuse, exposure to violence, conflict with close friends or family members, use of alcohol or drugs, social isolation, academic pressure, loss of a valued relationship, impaired social skills and impaired peer relationships and bullying. Moreover, young people have a stigma associated with asking for help. The barriers to accessing services along with cultural and religious beliefs are other factors which have contributed to the ill-fated side of young people ending their lives that is suicide.
People who are depressed or have mental illness don’t want to end their lives but they want to end their pain. According to sources, as per National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) report, over 13,000 students died in India at the rate of more than 35 every day, with 864 out of 10,732 suicides being due to “failure in examination.” Suicide which accounts for the fourth leading cause of death amongst the youth is an alarming issue in the country, for a population where 65 per cent of people are under 35 years of age. It is one of the leading causes of fatalities.
How can we deal with this grotesque problem which is taking our young people’s lives? Suicide prevention efforts should focus on education institution programs, crisis centre hotlines, screening programs that seek to identify at-risk adolescents, media guidelines and efforts to limit toxic drugs overdose access.
It is important for parents and family members of adolescents with suicidal tendencies to seek professional help immediately share their feelings, encourage them not to isolate himself or herself from family and friends and recommend relaxing exercises. They should address depression or anxiety seriously, pay attention and never shrug off threats of young people as “melodramatic” and most importantly listen to their words with compassion and concern.
Our young people needs to be protected, cared, loved and listened to, together we can overcome Mental Health illness and decrease the grimly death of youth suicide.