UNDER EXTREME pressure to match up to the expectaions of her parents, 17-year-old Kruttika Behl (name changed) was close to ending her life last year. The reason – she felt her parents were partial towards her elder brother, who was good in academics. Though Kruttika was doing well in extra-curricular activities, parents kept comparing her with the sibling.
With the Board exams approaching, she was undergoing tremendous pressure because the parents were asking her to do well but she felt she wouldn’t be able to perform well enough. Before she took the extreme step, fortunately, Kruttika decided to seek help from Connecting NGO, a helpline that reaches out to those going through distress and seeking emotional support. After speaking to the helpline volunteer, Kruttika calmed down. Kruttika was one such case. There are thousands of youngsters buckling under pressure of Board exams and not everyone is as lucky as Kruttika.
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On Saturday night, for instance, a 16-year-old boy of Class 10, was found hanging to the ceiling in his house in Talawade. According to police, the incident came to light around when his family returned home and found him hanging to the ceiling.
The number of young callers attended by Connecting NGO have been rapidly increasing in the past five years, according to Sweta Tiwary, volunteer, trainer and mentor at the Helpline. During February to June last year, Connecting received nearly 670 calls on the helpline, out of which approximately 20 per cent were from students who were going through study-related stress. The calls usually increase in June due to results, said Tiwary.
“Broadly speaking, there are three reasons that make youngsters suicidal and approach the helpline. Firstly, they feel they are not being understood. Secondly, they feel they are not give a choice. Thirdly, they have nobody to talk to,” said Tiwary.
Vikram Singh Pawar, another volunteer, said the student callers share various challenges that affect them during the exams. While some cite pressure from parents, others say over expectation from oneself is leading to distress. There is also a great sense of fear of failure, he added.
“For many students, relationship was another concern. The insecurities around boyfriends/girlfriends adversely affected their studies. Many students shared their inability to understand and cope with a subject/stream which they never wanted to pursue in the first place, but gave in to parental pressure. They felt unsure of what they wanted to do. Sometimes this confusion took a toll on their mental health too. They felt trapped and did not see a way out,” said Pawar.
Citing another case on the condition of anonymity, Tiwary said, one Std XII student who called on the helpline said that his father forced him to Choose science and wanted him to crack the IIT. The student was ‘highly suicidal’ because his Physics paper was coming up and he was struggling with the subject. “There was a lot of guilt and fear. He spoke for about one-and-a-half hours,” said Tiwary.