Taking the toll of student suicides to 16 in Madhya Pradesh this year, Jyoti Kevat ,14, a student of Class 9 of Shaskiya Kanya Vidyalaya, took her life on Sunday afternoon.
Two Class 12 students yielded to expectations of their parents and took their lives in separate incidents on Saturday.Their suicide notes have mentioned that the decisions were taken because of fear of not passing in Physics and English examinations respectively.
Apart from questioning the role of school authorities, teachers and parents in these incidents, lack of a suicide prevention helpline is to blame for the worsening scenario. The only helpline launched by Spandan, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in 2014 in collaboration with Indore police, is inactive.Over 1.5 lakh NGOs operate in MP.
Cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Pondicherry, Kolkata and Pune have dedicated suicide helplines.
Psychiatrist Ruma Bhattacharya says, “A suicide helpline can be of real help when one thinks that this is the end of one’s life. Then, someone can talk them out of this and defeat the heat of the moment. Mood disorders are very rapid in adolescents. If even one life is saved by a helpline, it is worth the cause.”
However, Jeevan Aadhar, a helpline launched under the National Health Mission in 2013 to address issues of teenagers, has made its services available for 24 hours after the rise in suicides from March 3.
“Till now, we have dealt with 147 cases and were able to stop them from committing suicide. All of our staff are trained,” said Dr Preeti Mathur, coordinator of Jeevan Aadhar, which can be contacted on 1800-233-1250.