Can you hear the silent screams of our students who contemplate suicide?
“A 15-yr old student in Sibsoo committed suicide by hanging himself early this morning. That’s the 11th suicide case in last 10 months,” tweeted @BHT-FLASHNEWS on Tuesday, September 10 – World Suicide Prevention Day 2013.
There is no graver news than that of a child killing himself on the very day chosen to advocate on suicide prevention. I then posted a status on my Facebook wall “This is the grim realities of the world where a day is being marked as International Suicide Prevention Day and we see one coming…Today is the day to create awareness on depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and all other emotional problems that lead to the execution of the so called suicide we have been hearing every single day. Isn’t it time that we come together and act against this very disease that is engulfing our society?”
Over a casual discussion with a colleague I was told that a Class VIII boy hanged himself from an apple tree in the very orchard that he grew up playing. The reason for the suicide; he had failed miserably in his mid-term examination and was too scared to face his dad. He had shared the result with his mother who only told him that the father will deal with it. That made him even more nervous. Before he committed suicide he had actually called his dad who was then at the archery ground. The boy had told of his result and the response he got from his dad was, “you wait there! We will deal when I reach home.” That was the last conversation the dad had with his son.
If only the parents were a bit more sensitive and attended to his fears appropriately, this would not have resulted. Many suicides and suicidal behaviours could be prevented if we just give a little extra care, support and protection that our children look forward to.
The principal of a school tells me that there is a boy who doesn’t want to study. But he is forced to stay because the father had warned him that he would be removed out of the census and sent out of the house if he doesn’t stick to the school. The boy is believed to have told the principal that he is fed up of his dad’s constant nagging and belittling him and even confessed to resorting to suicide attempts several times.
Just two months back a Class XII student hanged himself in his lone rented room. He was known to be lively, always laughing and joking around with his friends. Principal and teachers say he never showed any sign of depressions or any other problems. He was even playing music the day before he committed suicide. Later it was discovered that he was in love with a girl to whom he could not confess his feelings. Her name was found written on the wall of his room.
There are many instances where our children today go through fears, peer pressure, stress from studies, relationship issues, and lack of attention from parents and teachers in the schools, that lead to emotional instability and lack of self esteem in themselves. Needs and feelings of the children are ignored. Most youth suffer from the symptom of lack of attention and love at home. Many of the emotional problems that our youth go through are manifested in different ways. Some resort to abusing drugs, some indulge in gangs and fights, some turn into loners. Some girls suffer through teenage pregnancy and unhealthy abortions at the border; and there are some who resort to suicide.
So where are we going wrong? Is it in parenting and upbringing? Is it the school system? Is it the outcome of modern day life styles? And there may be countless questions that every individual needs to ask oneself. As a parent, are we doing enough in terms of upbringing and helping our children in the growing up process? Are we trying to figure out the needs and fears of our children? Do we hold our children’s hands and let them know that they are not alone fighting the lone battle in this modern day? Do we tell our kids often that we love them? Do we tell them that their fears and tears are ours too? Are all the children getting the love, care, support and attention at home?
Do we expect to bring up our children the way we were brought up some three to four decades ago? The times have changed, the social settings have changed and are ever changing and so are the needs of the children. It’s then imperative that the parents change with the changing pace of time and change their ways of dealing and handling children. And so goes with the school system. At a time when we are talking of preventing our children from getting into many social problems thus leading to issues like suicide, our school system should put in place ways and means to provide emotional security in our children.
It is believed that schools are the second homes and teachers are the second parents. Many a times schools may trigger off the problems unintentionally. Children may come to schools with lots of emotional baggage at the verge of bursting off. It is important that schools have the system of knowing every child, their strengths, weakness, fears, needs, and accordingly provide services that deal with each areas of concern.
Times have gone where we discipline our children with threat and thrashing. It is no longer a world where sting nettle could be applied to better classroom management. Proactive programmes need to be put in place and instituted in the school system to understand the needs of the children and help them become better human beings. At the end of the day we should know that every single life is precious and it is the duty of parents and schools to help our children appreciate their lives better rather than enabling them to resort to suicide.