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Ramdhar Maheshwari Career Counseling Centre

When your child says ‘I want to die’

It is not unusual for the teens of today to give suicide threats to their parents. On the slightest of inconvenience they will casually make statements like ‘I will kill myself’ or ‘I want to die’. Teenagers are known to act impulsively, and it is disastrous to assume that these statements will not get converted into action. Every hour one student in India commits suicide! This statistic is horrendous and the issue demands attention.

In psychology we have a term called ‘low frustration tolerance’. This term implies that even the least of discomfort is likely to trigger the person into extremely negative emotional states. We as a society have grown less tolerant towards frustration. Teens and young adults are naturally more prone to frustration, considering the rise in frustration intolerance in the society as a whole, it is needless to mention its impact on the youth.

Academic pressure and depression are amongst the leading causes of suicide in the India. Our Indian families are very insensitive towards the issue of depression. We have not yet changed our mindset that mental health is as necessary as physical health; and that mental illnesses are real and beyond an individual’s control. Mothers are much concerned whether their child had proper meal, when it comes to how they feel; the issue is brushed aside as if of no importance. Seeking personal counselling help from mental health experts is still a stigma. It is thus not surprising that we have such high instances of suicide in the country.

The second demon in our families is academic pressure. All hell breaks loose in an Indian family if their child fails a class. There is extreme academic pressure on the students, to pursue the most prestigious course with the best grade and land the most lucrative job henceforth. Whether the student is suited for that profession is the least concern for the parents.

Already the young generation is less tolerant to frustration, this topped with depression and academic pressure is sufficient to push the child over the board. Parents today are at a loss as to how to deal with their moody teens, and they themselves are facing tremendous pressure as parents. They need help and guidance themselves. In most cases parents need personal counselling and guidance for understanding how to deal with their child.

When an issue like depression or even mentions of desire to commit suicide surfaces the child should immediately be taken for personal counselling to a mental health expert. It is a wager to try to contain this situation within the family or to hope that it will wean out. Each time we ignore or brush aside when someone talks about suicide we push that person closer towards the final act. Usually the victim expresses the desire to attempt suicide before doing it. They try to talk about it to their friends or family members, and they are usually not taken seriously, yelled at or embarrassed. These are all detrimental ways to help the person. To be supportive and to get that person to a mental health professional for personal counselling as soon as possible is what needs to be done- I repeat this because of its dire importance.

Our psychologists here at RMCC conduct personal counselling sessions for students, where we help them deal with issues like depression, academic difficulties, stress, lack of confidence, low self esteem, peer pressure, relationship difficulties etc. All of these could be precursors for a mental state leading to an attempt of suicide. We are here to help students struggling with emotional difficulties. A helping hand offered at the right time can save your child’s life.

- Anugrah Edmonds, Counseling Psychologist.