Over 24,000 children died by suicide from 2017 to 2019 in India

Delhi, August 01 (KMS) : Over 24,000 children in the age bracket of 14-18 years committed suicide from 2017-19, with failure in examination being the reason in over 4,000 such cases, according to government data.

The consolidated data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on children’s suicide was recently presented in Parliament. As per data, 24,568 children, including 13,325 girls died by suicide between 2017 and 2019. In 2017, 8,029 children in the age group of 14-18 years died by suicide. The number rose to 8,162 in 2018 and then further increased to 8,377 in 2019, it said.

The highest number of deaths by suicide among children in this age bracket was reported from Madhya Pradesh at 3,115 followed by West Bengal at 2,802, Maharashtra at 2,527 and Tamil Nadu at 2,035. Failure in examination was given as the reason behind the suicide of 4,046 children, while marriage-related issue was the reason behind the suicide of 639 children, including 411 girls, according to the data.

About 3,315 children died by suicide for reasons related to love affair, while illness was given as reason behind the suicide of 2,567 children. Physical abuse was given as reason for 81 children’s death.

Death of a dear person, drug abuse or alcohol addiction, illegitimate pregnancy, fall in social reputation, unemployment, poverty and ideological causes or hero worshipping were other reasons given for the death of these children by suicide. Raising alarm over the probability of worsening of situation due to COVID-19 pandemic, child rights activists stressed on inclusion of life skill training in school curriculum and making mental health part of mainstream healthcare and wellness agenda.

Commenting on how children’s psycho-social well-being is compromised, especially during times of stress, Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY-Child Rights and You, said majority of children and adolescents who attempt suicide have a significant mental health issue/challenge, usually depression. ”Among younger children, suicide attempts are often impulsive. They may be associated with feelings of sadness, confusion, anger, stress or problems with attention and hyperactivity. Among teenagers, suicide attempts may be associated with feelings of stress, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, disappointment, depression and loss. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems,” she said.

She further said that issues related to mental health and psycho-social well-being of children and adolescents have increasingly become a crucial health and development priority. ”We believe that all children and adolescents have a right to quality mental healthcare and psycho-social support mechanisms, and ensuring their mental well-being can go a long way in helping them grow to their full potential and become productive members of the society,” Marwaha told an Indian media outlet.