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India saw 31 children die by suicide every day in 2020;  Experts Say Covid-19 Increased Psychological Trauma

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India saw 31 children die by suicide every day in 2020; Experts Say Covid-19 Increased Psychological Trauma

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An average of 31 children died by suicide every day in India in 2020, according to government data, and experts underscored that the COVID-19 pandemic may have greatly exacerbated the psychological trauma faced by children. According to data from the National Office of Criminal Records, 11,396 children died by suicide in 2020, an 18 percent increase from 9,613 of such deaths in 2019 and a 21 percent increase from 9,413 in 2018.

Family problems (4,006), love affairs (1,337) and illness (1,327) were the main causes of suicide among children (under 18 years of age). Ideological causes or the cult of heroes, unemployment, bankruptcy, impotence or infertility and drug abuse were other causes of the suicide of some children. Prabhat Kumar, Deputy Director of Child Protection at Save the Children, said that COVID-19 and the resulting school closings and social isolation, along with anxiety among the elderly, have further aggravated the mental health problem and made it worse. put in the foreground.

“While we, as a society, are aware of tangible aspects such as education and physical health for the construction of national human capital, emotional well-being or psychosocial support often take a back seat. The increasing number of suicides among children reflects a systemic failure. It is a collective responsibility of parents, families, neighborhoods, and the government at large to provide an enabling ecosystem where children can hope to reach their potential and fulfill their dreams of a bright future. Commit suicide on the contrary, it is an antithesis, “said Kumar. he told PTI. “The stigma associated with mental health and an abysmally low number of mental health professionals per capita demand urgent attention. COVID-19 and the resulting school closings and social isolation, along with anxiety among the elderly, have compounded the problem further and they have brought it to the fore. Save the Children calls for collective action to nurture an encouraging and supportive ecosystem for children and youth, “he added.

Commenting on the issue, Priti Mahara, director of policy research and advocacy at CRY – Child Rights and You, said that since the beginning of the pandemic, it was one of the main concerns that could affect the mental health and psychosocial well-being of the children. -ser, and recent NCRB data actually underscores the fear that the pandemic may have greatly exacerbated the psychological trauma faced by children. “As the NCRB data reveals, a total of 11,396 children (5,392 boys and 6,004 girls) have committed suicide in 2020, representing 31 deaths per day or approximately 1 child committing suicide per hour,” he told PTI.

“Children have gone through tremendous emotional stress and trauma due to home confinement and lack of interaction with friends, teachers, or anyone else in the position of trust due to prolonged school closings and limited social interactions,” said. Many of them have gone through a hostile environment at home, many others have seen the disappearance of their loved ones and have faced the impact of the fear of contagion and the deepening of the financial crisis at the family level, he said.

Many children have also experienced great uncertainty related to the completion of the curriculum, tests, and results. “A large number of children, especially those living under the shadows of multidimensional poverty, struggled to attend classes online and were severely affected by the digital divide, while many others suffered from excessive exposure to the internet and networks. social and were subjected to online bullying and allied cybercrime, “he said.

“All this, added to the widespread anxiety of the uncertainty of the future, must have been too much for their young and tender minds,” he added. Akhila Sivadas, executive director of the Center for Defense and Research, said that alternative models of care and advice should be developed in collaboration with key stakeholders and every effort should be made to bring learnings to a cross section of society so that everyone take responsibility. to stop this practice. “

Mental health expert Prakriti Poddar, managing trustee of the Poddar Foundation, said parents need to understand how fragile their children’s mental well-being is and be proactive in assessing it. “Teachers should also be trained to identify symptoms and patterns of mental problems. Apart from that, educational institutions should have psychological counseling programs in place to help students deal with their problems in a confidential way. Every child has a mechanism for different coping. Therefore, the counseling programs should be flexible, to address the needs of each individual child. If necessary, a student should be referred to a mental health professional for timely intervention, “Poddar said.


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India saw 31 children die by suicide every day in 2020; Experts Say Covid-19 Increased Psychological Trauma

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