Teachers,parents should lend support to students in distress: Psychiatrists

City psychiatrists say there is no reason big enough to make a youngster take such a drastic step.

Written by Anjali Jhangiani KP | Pune | Published: November 24, 2013 1:35:32 am

Whether it relates to inability to tackle examination pressure,relationship issues or family troubles,failure in academics or being unpopular among peers,should such reasons force a youngster to commit suicide?

City psychiatrists say there is no reason big enough to make a youngster take such a drastic step. They say no situation can be so tangled that it cannot be sorted out and added that students need guidance from parents and teachers during their formative years.

Dr Swapnal Deshmukh of Shree Yash Hospital said,“We often put our finger on failure in academics or the lack of ability to deal with exam pressure,in reality there are many other reasons to force a student to commit suicide”.

Sometimes students have unrealistic expectations from themselves and play it up with their parents. “They don’t prepare for examinations. The gap between inadequate preparation and desired result is filled with negativity,which results in depression,helplessness and hopelessness,” says Deshmukh. Dr Kalpana Raval,consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist at Sahyadri Hospitals and FTII,Pune agrees. “Last-minute preparations are associated with increased pressure and stress. Some persons may also react in extreme ways,for example,by avoiding the situation,running away,using drugs or even attempting to harm themselves or ending their life,” she says.

Deshmukh says students often study during the night,and sacrifice their sleep,which takes a toll on their mind and allows depression to creep in. He also notices a rise in the number of cases in which students are addicted to substance which induce intoxication,and the most popular one among students living in hostels,paying guests accommodations and flats is cannabis,better known as “weed” among students. “I recently had two cases of depression caused by addiction to cannabis. This causes weakness of memory,dilates cognitive functions pushes one into a state of helplessness,” says Deshmukh.

Rawal says teachers can be very helpful in trying to form a support system for students undergoing depression. They need to be flexible and supportive as per the needs of the individual and identify and bring to attention any emotional disturbances,change in behaviour,to the school counsellor or parents at the earliest. The expert in turn should suggest early intervention strategies.

Deshmukh suggests that parents need to be more aware of what is happening in their ward’s life. “Recently a student from Kolkata had attempted suicide because she was ot allowed to give her third-year examinations. She already had a few backlogs and her parents,who were in her hometown,were given the impression by her that she is doing very well academically. They never bothered to check her results and trusted her on what she was telling them over the telephone,” said Deshmukh.

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