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Kota suicides: Our children on the brink

  • Published
    7th Sep, 2023

Context:

Alarming rates of youth suicides expose the negligence towards country’s children and their emotional needs.

Rising Teen Suicides in Kota

  • Alarming Situation: Recent teen suicides in Kota, Rajasthan, known for its intense competition among students preparing for entrance exams, have brought attention to the mental health crisis amongst youth.
  • Magnitude of the Issue: India faces a significant issue of youth suicides, with statistics showing it as the leading cause of death among 15 to 30-year-olds In 2020, an alarming 34 students committed suicide daily, with 11,396 child suicides recorded.
  • Neglected Concern: Despite the severity of the problem, student and youth suicides often go unnoticed, overshadowed by other news stories. This neglect highlights the failure to address emotional needs and vulnerabilities in society.

Root Causes and Kota's Coaching Industry

  • Common Themes in Kota: Many of the students in Kota hail from UP and Bihar, coming from lower-middle-class backgrounds, lured by promises of success and hopes to uplift their families.
  • Exploitative Coaching Industry: The Kota coaching industry, valued at Rs.12, 000 crore, prioritizes financial gains and results over student welfare. Students face grueling schedules, excessive competition, and a lack of support systems.
  • Lack of Compassion: There is a lack of safe spaces, compassionate faculty, and individualized support for struggling students. The pressure, guilt, and helplessness they experience often lead to tragic outcomes.

Need for Comprehensive Solutions

  • Pandemic's Impact on Mental Health: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues across communities, bringing attention to the neglected field of mental health in India.
  • Increased Budget Allocation: The National Mental Health Programme's budget has increased to Rs.134 crore for 2023-24 from a mere Rs.40 crore before the pandemic.
  • Long-Term Engagement Needed: Addressing the crisis requires a comprehensive, ongoing effort involving parents, educators, policymakers, and mental health professionals.
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