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Why are Young Indians most prone to Depression & Self-Harm!

05 Feb 2016

How often do open your newspaper and read about a suicide story of a teenager/young person?

SairaSirohi, a 16 year old swimming champion who was to represent India for Olympics is making the headlines for committing suicide. She was apparently extremely stressed because of her academics and despite a national level prodigy, she could not herself together. RohithVemula is another familiar name, a another young adult who gave succumbed to the different stressors of life. And no, these are not just some stories. Suicides are happening among teenagers and young adults at an alarming rate.  According to CDC’s WISQARS(Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System), suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults. 

Studies also show that at least 90% of teens who kill themselves have some type of mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, or a behavior.

What can be the reasons behind these suicides becoming so common?

Teenage is a transition period from childhood to adulthood. This period is the most vulnerable time of a person’s life. An individual is already going through multiple changes, physically and psychologically. The threshold for breakdown is much less. The most common reasons behind suicides are:

  1. Academics: The emphasis on getting good grades and getting into a good college to get a good job is only getting stronger. The inability to cope severe competition and the need to excel is the most prevalent cause of suicide among teenagers.
  2. Family and peer expectation: “You dad is a doctor, your brother is an IITian. And what have you done in your life?”. In India, it is very common to impose the family’s expectations and ambitions irrespective of the child’s own choice and abilities which creates unbearable stress on the child.
  3. Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is not just physically taxing but also emotionally draining. In India, being a rape victim is more difficult because of the societal stereotypes.
  4. Mental disorders: The initiative to end one’s own life is pretty extreme and clearly is sign of mental trouble. Untreated depression is the most common cause of depression worldwide. Deepression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders can be very much leading to suicide among teenagers.
  5. Relationship troubles: Teenage being a time when emotions are heightened, relationships(romantic and friendship) become intense and they often cause immense stress which can lead to suicide.


Red alerts that a young person may be suicidal:

  1. Sudden changes in behavior(over sleeping/ undersleeping, over eating/ undereating, less talking or responsive, spending too much time alone, locking oneself up in room)
  2. Writing and talking about death
  3. Expressing self loathe or disregard for self
  4. Declining grades and school performance
  5. Withdrawal from family, friends and relationships
  6. Lack of hygiene
  7. Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  8. Increased irritability and aggressiveness

Teenagers & youngsters are more abrupt in deciding and committing suicide. Being alert for suicidal signs is the first thing one can do.


What should you do if you see yourself or a family member prone to suicide:


  1. The thought of ending one’s life must have come from unbearable pain(mostly emotional pain). Understanding the underlying cause for having these thoughts is the first step to resolving those thoughts.


  1. If you are parent/ family member, talk openly and honestly with the child and child’s friends about your concerns and be supportive in helping them cope with their feelings. Do not rush them, or be interrogative. Be supportive. If you feel you might be suicidal, start with thinking why you shouldn’t commit suicide. You may feel that nobody cares and your life is not worth, but you need to dig deeper. Talk to someone you can confide to, if you are having trouble.


  1. If you are parent/ family member or you are experiencing suicidal tendencies, understand that it is just a phase. One can’t have everything at the same time but can definitely make the best out the current situation and that is what life is all about.


  1. Impose positive coping strategies. Alcohol, smoking, drugs, risk behavior are common faulty coping strategies teenagers often use which seem to be more leading to suicides. Effective coping strategies such as a productive hobby and relation techniques are helpful


  1. Seek professional help: There is no harm is talking to a professional and seeking therapy when you or someone you know feels being on a verge of breaking. Suicide helpline numbers are accessible. Counselling services and psychotherapeutic services are available that will help you to think more positively and help you achieve your life goals more effectively.

If you are feeling sad and lonely and suspect depression, you can Just Click the Pink chat button to instantly connect with a Psychologist




Tags: #depression #self-harm #suicide