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Child suicides on rise in Kerala, ‘Ninavu’ to address issue

377 children ended lives during lockdown, President’s medal winner among them

Published: 11th September 2021 02:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th September 2021 11:10 AM   |  A+A-

online education, mental health

Representational Image. (Express Illustrations | Amit Bandre)

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: The state has recorded the death by suicide of a staggering 377 children in the Covid-induced lockdown period. As per the statistics of State Crime Records Bureau, 324 children under 18 years took the extreme step in 2020 and another 53 between January and April this year. Last year’s is the highest figure reported in the last five years.

Comprehending the seriousness of the situation, the state women and child development (WCD) department on Friday rolled out ‘Ninavu’, a suicide prevention programme under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. “The failure in the functioning of family as an entity as well as certain lacunae in the society in general causes serious problems for children,” said T V Anupama who was transferred from the post of WCD director two days back.

An exhaustive study on the child suicides in the state between January 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 led the government to launch Ninavu. As many as 158 children died during the period, of whom girls constituted 57%. Children in the 15-18 age group killed themselves the most. A majority of the children were studying in government schools (48%) and governmentaided schools (30%).

Another important finding was that 74% of the children were staying with their biological parents and only 9% with single parent when they committed suicide. The study carried out by the committee headed by former DGP R Sreelekha had pointed out the lack of inadequate support systems within the family for the situtation. Among the 158 suicide cases, the reason was unknown in 41.

“Fifty of the children who died by suicide were good in studies. Among them, one had even got the President’s award, another one was a class leader and yet another one a student police cadet. This reveals that the teachers and parents never addressed the issues of active and smart children,” says the report.

Ninavu aims to set up a suicide- prevention cell which will aim at addressing the problems faced by the children in the beginning itself, besides developing feasible strategies, protocols and conduct screening for preventing suicide, early identification and interventions for highrisk groups and strengthen the capacity for developing positive mental health among children.

(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call AASRA's 24x7 Helpline: +91-9820466726 for assistance.)



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