Adolescent Suicides Have Increased: Psychiatrists - The New Indian Express

Adolescent Suicides Have Increased: Psychiatrists

Published: 11th December 2013 08:23 AM

Last Updated: 11th December 2013 08:26 AM

The trigger could be anything, but the consequence irreversible. From being angry about being rebuked by parents, feeling denied a demand, being rejected in love or fear of societal glare, it would seem as if more and more teenagers in Bangalore are committing suicide. News headlines regularly exclaim shock over such incidents and the city is left wondering at whatever is going in the minds of today’s young. “It is true that adolescent suicides have climbed up in the last ten to 20 years,” says Dr Kiran who is attached to the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NIMHANS. A study published in The Lancet 2012 by psychiatrist Vikram Patel, says that, “About 3 per cent of the surveyed deaths (2,684 of 95,335) in individuals aged 15 years or older were due to suicide, corresponding to about 1,87,000 suicide deaths in India in 2010 at these ages.... A 15-year-old individual in India had a cumulative risk of about 1·3 per cent of dying before the age of 80 years by suicide; men had a higher risk (1·7 per cent) than did women (1·0 per cent), with especially high risks in south India (3·5 per cent in men and 1·8 per cent in women).” Some city psychiatrists point towards the rising uncertainties of life. “There is a pervading restlessness about everything, jobs, partner, career, money relationships and even family. Every thing is being hurried up. And in all this, we are losing the time we have for each other. Everyone either has his/her earphones plugged in or is busy SMSing,” says Dr B N Gangadhar, professor of psychiatry at NIMHANS. A kind of loneliness that follows such a lifestyle often means these youngsters feel there is no one to address their problems or even guide them out of it. “With both parents working, attention to the child sometimes dips. Sometimes, children get angry, throw tantrums to attract attention. There have been cases where an eight-year-old or six-year-old has committed suicide. Sometimes a child does something harmful only to scare the parent and it goes all wrong. Of course, this is a conjecture because reasons for suicide are multi-dimensional ranging from issues with family, society, parenting and others,” says Dr Kiran. Rising anger and sense of entitlement could be contributing factors. “Today the demand for ‘my right’ has grown louder. Take the case of the the Indian parents who were taken to court for disciplining their child in Norway. And it is so all over the world. Wherever duties have taken a backseat, there is fight for right,” adds Dr Gangadhar. Unfortunately, not always through the right means.


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