NEW DELHI: Sixteen students, including eight from IITs, died by suicide in 2022, and the reason was academic stress, family and personal reasons, mental health issues, etc, the Rajya Sabha was informed Wednesday.
In 2023, six cases were reported, three each from the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and the National Institute of Technology (NITs).
In 2019, 16 students - eight each from IITs and NITs - died by suicide.
In 2021, seven students - four - from IITs - took the extreme step, while in 2020, five students - three from IITs - died by suicide.
In a written reply, Minister of State for Education Dr Subhas Sarkar said, “The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 provisions for counselling systems for handling stress and emotional adjustments in Institutions.”
It also provides opportunities for students participation in sports, culture/arts clubs, eco-clubs, activity clubs, community service projects, etc.
Further, in alignment with the NEP, to eradicate language barriers for the students for an improved understanding and improved teaching learning outcome, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has initiated the work of translation of technical books in 12 scheduled regional languages.
The minister said the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also circulated the National Suicide Prevention Strategy formulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 6.
The ministry has undertaken various steps such as peer-assisted learning, the introduction of technical education in regional languages for students in order to ease academic stress.
The minister said the government’s initiative, named MANODARPAN, covers a wide range of activities to provide psychological support to students, teachers and families for mental and emotional well-being during the Covid outbreak and beyond.
The ministry has also advised the institutions to make the system more robust which would include prevention, detection and remedial measures for addressing the possible causes of suicides.
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The higher educational institutions take various steps such as conducting workshops/seminars on happiness and wellness, regular sessions on Yoga, induction programs, extracurricular activities including sports and cultural activities, assigning one faculty adviser per 10 students to support with their academics and monitor their progress, and appointment of Student Counsellors for overall personality development and de-stressing students.
Further, students, wardens, and caretakers are sensitized to bring to notice the signs of depression in fellow students to the authorities so that timely clinical consultation may be provided, Sarkar said.
Discussing suicides can be triggering for some. However, suicides are preventable. In case you feel distressed by the content or know someone in distress, call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7).