IIT and MBBS Students Suicide: What You Need to Know

“Annually, approximately 13,039 students end their lives in India,” says Singh (2022). On average, every year, 17 students from each district commit suicide, and 36 students across India die by suicide every day.

Suicide in India is discussed only when it happens in a well-known family, institute, or business. In most cases, no one cares about how many students and daily-wage workers are killing themselves due to harassment. Many rape and crime victims commit suicide, because they lose hope in the judiciary due to slow actions of police officers,” and delayed justice.

India needs police and judiciary reform; otherwise, criminals like BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, who killed relatives of a rape victim in July 2019 and her father, would not be afraid of the judiciary. It happened due to insensitive and discriminatory police officers.

  • The criminals’ confidence stays high, and they continue to threaten and scare the victims of rape and religious or caste discrimination.
  • Recently, extremists have been killing people of other faiths in increasing numbers in the name of religious principles, which is a result of ineffective law and order in India.

Recent Cases of Student Suicide in IIT and MBBS Schools

The recent suicides of students at IIT-Bombay and some MBBS colleges show a failure of principals and directors of institutions. Two students killed themselves in February because their principals did not act quickly enough on complaints of bullying and unfair treatment. The students who died due to delayed actions could have been saved.

Case 1

On February 26, 2023, Dr. Preeti, a 26-year-old PG-I medical student, died in Hyderabad, Telangana. This was four days after she allegedly tried to kill herself because second-year PG students were bothering her. She and her father complained about Mohd Ali Saif at Kakatiya Medical College, but no action was taken against him.

Case 2

An 18-year-old student at the IITB jumped off the 7th story of a hostel building and killed himself. His father said he was harassed for his lower caste. If this is happening at IITB, can you imagine the situation of minorities in small cities?

Case 3

A 21-year-old medical student jumped into the Sabarmati River on Jan. 17, 2023. Under pressure from practical tests, NHL Medical College MBBS student “Paritosh Modi” killed himself. Do you not think that teachers have been unprofessional and put extra pressure on students?

Case 4

A PhD scholar at GNDU Amritsar committed suicide between 2017 and 2019. It was said that his professor had left him at GNDU to teach at another university. This story did not make national headlines, and the student’s suicide note did not name anyone. He likely felt abandoned, and GNDU was not comforting him in his darkest hour.

Case 5 (old case, where a PhD scholar was saved by friends)

When I was at GNDU Amritsar, a PhD scholar (Northeast Indian) called me at 10:00 p.m. He said, “Hello, Tiwari, I’m contemplating suicide.” “I have no hope.” When I ran to his room and took him to one of the senior scholars’ rooms, his hands were cold. He was harassed by local undergraduate Punjabi students. His professor, who was also a director in one government organization, ignored his complaint. As per him, these comments (“Momos, sir,” and “Chinki, sir”) are normal. Instead of listening to him, he said he should focus on his work only. Sadly, his professor did nothing for him; the student was guided and supported by other PhD students. We did not leave him alone, and he completed his PhD on time. His friends saved him.

In the above suicides, students had poor coping skills, and principals and deans also failed to save them by taking timely actions.

Impact of Stress on Student Lives

Several studies on students and young adults have found several sources of stress and pressure that are bad for their mental and physical health. Some signs of too much stress are not getting enough sleep, eating poorly, not being able to concentrate, and getting distracted easily. Some sources of high stress can be identified for every student, and they can be given counselling individually.

Some Sources of High Stress

Peer pressure

Peer pressure to follow certain trends and celebrities, wear costly clothes, and look rich cannot be handled by students from poor families. It is also found that 80% of students start using drugs and alcohol due to peer pressure alone.

Competitive Career and Academics

Most students and Indian parents are obsessed with highly stressful academic competition.

Relationship issues with parents and partners

Despite the traditional culture of mating after marriage, Indian youth don’t hesitate to get into a stressful premarital relationship. Aside from the above, other major sources of stress include worries about where to live, using drugs or smoking, and getting into dangerous sexual relationships because of how attractive someone is.

Who is at Greater Risk at these institutions?

Harassment and teasing show that minorities and poor people have it worse than others. Students from wealthy families, with muscular bodies, and officers’ children are less harassed. The reason for minorities’ harassment lies in the poor training of professors, management, police, and officers.

Most teachers and management staff in Indian schools are hired based on their approach and connections, not because they are good at teaching, have empathy, or know how to act professionally. We can’t expect these teachers and administrators to work ethically because they were hired in an unethical manner. Also, when a student or a member of the faculty complains about a bad or insensitive teacher, the higher-ups rarely do anything.

So, it is not only poor mental health that is behind the increasing number of suicides among students at the age of playing and enjoying their lives, but also

  • poor administration, and
  • officers with low empathy and zero accountability.

Strategies to Prevent Suicides

Instead of making everyone get mental health care to stop students and poor people from killing themselves, we should force our government agencies to “suspend” all “bully students” and “insensitive faculty” for a while or for good, and then send both the victims and the bullies to counselling.

  • In some cases, even the bad parents should be arrested.
  • It will show the younger generation that we care about them and are more open to human values since our constitution is flexible and gives everyone the right to freedom, interreligious marriage, and expression, no matter their religion or caste.

But who will do it? the corrupt officers in social work and legal departments?

Survey on Most Stressful Things in Adults’ Lives

Last week I was reading about the top five causes of stress in young adults’ lives, and two of them are:

  1. financial insecurity, and
  2. Low self-esteem and poor relationships with loved ones

If these two can be strengthened, then too many students will gain hope and will not think of dying but instead will bounce back and fight.

Suicidal Warning Signs:

Students who are at risk of killing themselves can get help if their warning signs are noticed. The National Institute of Mental Health (USA) identifies the following behaviours as potential warning signs:

image source: healthline.com

  1. Role of authority, law, and order: In this article, I’m not ignoring the role of mental health professionals and the community, and I’m also not blaming the authorities for the deaths of kids and people who work for a day’s wage. Instead, I’m pointing out how the authorities haven’t done their part by keeping and applying the law properly to stop these kinds of problems that lead to suicides in the community.
  2. Role of community: As said by the WHO, “communities can play a crucial role in preventing suicide.” They can provide (a) social support to vulnerable individuals, (b) engage in follow-up care, (c) combat stigma, and (d) provide assistance to those who have lost a loved one to suicide as members of a community. (e) They can help give individuals a sense of belonging and connectedness.
  3. Five steps to help someone in Emotional Pain:

Image source: NIMH (USA), Please note that the emergency number in the image is for the USA; for India, call on 112.

4. Crisis Intervention: immediately assist an individual in crisis management by providing grief counselling, standing with them and showing some courage in the community to protect them, and managing their immediate fears and risks.

To help others, I remain non-judgmental and guide people wherever I can. What do you do to build a strong community to help others around you?

I end it with a quote: “We can’t help everyonebut everyone can help someone.”

If you or anyone else is feeling suicidal, immediately contact your local emergency number.

“Annually, approximately 13,039 students end their lives in India,” says Singh (2022). On average, every year, 17 students from each district commit suicide, and 36 students across India die by suicide every day. Suicide in India is discussed only when…

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