Chennai leads in suicides among adolescents

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Oracle, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

    Mar 31, 2010
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    Bangalore, India
    CHENNAI: In the academic year 2011-12, Rohan (name changed) was a Class 12 student at a reputed public school in Chennai. He attempted to commit suicide by drinking disinfectant over a failed love affair.

    Rohan was in love with a Class 8 girl in his school. As a hypersensitive child, he was used to having his way, so when his parents disapproved of the relationship, he threatened to commit suicide. His parents were horrified when he tried to carry out the threat by consuming phenol.

    Doctors saved him in the nick of time. An NGO, Jeevan Foundation for Suicide Prevention, helped Rohan get a grip on life through extensive counselling sessions for over four months. He is like any normal teen now and shows no suicidal tendencies, Jeevan officials say.

    Chennai reports the largest number of teen suicides among all cities in the country. At least one case of teenage suicide has been reported in the city every week since January. Academic problems, peer and parental pressure and disappointment in relationships are among the main reasons cited when youngsters commit suicide.

    Dr Abhilasha, psychiatrist and president of Aarudhal Psychological Trust for Suicide Prevention, says teens are predisposed to suicidal behaviour if they lack the ability to cope with disappointment or stress.

    "Some teens openly express their intention to commit suicide while others may end their lives without warning," she said. "Some youngsters express their intent to commit suicide in subtle ways. There was one schoolgirl who, under extreme stress, gave away her favourite teddy bear to a friend."

    She says parents and friends should look out for signs of stress or unusual behavior, because many suicidal youngsters can be saved. "Parents or schools should take teens with suicidal thoughts to a psychiatrist for counselling," Dr Abhilasha said.

    Angel Soji, director of Jeevan, says adolescent students are the most vulnerable group. "Schools should set up support groups to provide comfort to suicidal students," she said.

    Survivors give clarion call against suicide

    Caught in the throes of penury, depression and domestic abuse, Sugandha Priya felt her only respite was death. Six years after she tried to end her life by consuming acid, the 31-year-old is now a beacon of hope for other suicide survivors like her.

    Sugandha pointed to the scar on her neck as a prelude to her story. "This constantly reminds me of what I did. I will fight to make sure that people don't go down the path I did." For three years after she consumed acid, the suicide survivor had to live off tubes. "I found it hard to swallow my saliva or relieve myself," she recalled.

    Sugandha, now a counsellor, was among other survivors who came forward to share their experiences at a function to mark World Suicide Prevention Day at Madras Medical College on Monday.

    "Most of the patients we receive are between 15 and 35 years. While consumption of insecticides causes the maximum number of suicidal deaths, we also receive patients who consume acid and rat poison," said Dr S M Chandramohan, head of surgical gastroenterology, Madras Medical College. "Every life is important. People hear about suicide attempts, but few know what happens after that or realise the trauma and pain the victims and their families go through," he added.


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