Do You Know Your Classmate is Suicidal?

Not all student suicides are triggered by poor academic performance; students’ backgrounds play a role as well.

Published: 07th March 2016 03:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2016 07:48 AM   |  A+A-

Try Googling ‘Suicide Tamil Nadu’. By the time you type the ‘a’ in Tamil Nadu, the search engine throws up disturbing suggestions like ‘suicide tips in Tamil’. It’s a widely known fact that Tamil Nadu ranks a notorious second in the number of suicides reported per year (16,122 in 2014; 853 student deaths according to the National Crime Records Bureau). But looking closely at the suicide trend after the death of three college girls in Villupuram, it has come to light that student suicides are not restricted to Board Exam time alone, and stories about college students committing suicide are often reduced to tiny news items.

A.JPGOn February 27, a college student in Tiruchy hanged himself as he was accused of stealing a mobile phone. On February 17, a student in Virudhunagar district self-immolated after he was taken to task on disciplinary grounds. In October last year, two students who had come from smaller towns took their lives at IIT-Madras.

A pattern emerges from the data — several college students who commit suicide fall under certain categories: they hail from smaller towns, they come from weak economic backgrounds, and some of their parents may have even sold their land or mortgaged their jewellery for the sake of educating their children. “Students from rural areas are brilliant in academics, but they lack knowledge about interpersonal relationships, social life and the diversity here,” says Saras Bhaskar, a counselling psychologist. “To rectify this situation, there has to be a proper orientation programme which will make the transition to college life easier.”

AA.JPGChristina, a student counsellor at Loyola College, concurs. “We insist that in orientation, there should be group formation and group activities — let them mingle with other students. Once they form a group, there won’t be too many problems,” she says. “But when they begin to feel they don’t belong in this place or college, that’s a serious concern. Such students strongly feel like outsiders and wait for people to talk to them.”

Another issue is that many students have a lot of free time. If college hours are 8.30 am to 1.30 pm, they have the rest of the day to themselves. “Without a proper group, they start drinking or use drugs,” adds Chrisina. “A neuro-pathway gets created in a way that they are always out of reality.”

Saras Bhaskar recalls a case when a student’s roommates came to her with a problem — their friend was isolating himself for long periods. “He was in a depressed state and didn’t want his parents to know,” she says. Bhaskar advises counselling for parents too, while Christina adds that parents need to allow children to mingle with everyone, face situations, and help them live through failures.

Prevention of suicide should be a holistic approach that involves students, the institution, parents and teachers, they opine.

Stay up to date on all the latest Chennai news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp