Bangalore, May 8: For 16-year-old Kavya, failing in the SSLC examination was the end of the world. Her level of depression and hopelessness was so high that she did not care there is life even after an unsuccessful test.
As disturbing as Kavya’s death is, it is just the latest of a series of rash post-SSLC and post-PUC suicides –— eight cases in Bangalore — which hold the danger of lowering the barriers for others who might be contemplating taking their own lives.
Kavya was vacationing with her aunt here when she learnt she had failed the SSLC examination. Turning stoic, she called up her parents to inform them of her result before using her dupatta to hang herself from the ceiling fan. Dhanashekar, who failed the PUC II Commerce examination, also hanged himself at his Ulsoor residence.
A phobia for examinations and post-exam stress, backed by persistent pressure from parents and peers and lack of adequate counselling have emerged as the driving force behind students’ suicides since the SSLC and PUC results were declared two days ago.
While Bangalore accounted for one-third of these suicides, the children’s helpline (1098) run by the Bangalore police in association with an NGO, Makkala Sahayaya Vani (MSV), did not function just when it was supposed to lend a helping hand. Paradoxically, the helpline did not receive any call from any distressed student after the results were declared, indicating lack of awareness and counselling not just from parents but also the students’ schools.
Joint Commissioner of Police K H Srinivasan, the nodal officer for MSV, insisted that parents should undergo counselling so that they, in turn, can help and take care of their wards who need emotional support in times of stress. “No helpline will ever solve this problem. It defies logic that the burden of a student who is under constant pressure from parents can be reduced with outside help,” Srinivasan argued. He believes that counselling could start at the respective schools. “Educational institutes have a great opportunity during parents’ meetings to guide them on how to ease their wards’ stress,” he observed. For NIMHANS consultant psychiatrist Dr C R Chandrashekhar, “students tend to resort to this extreme step of committing or attempting suicide when desperation sets in.”