Amid about 10 instances of suicide or attempted suicide since 2016, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across India have geared up to take measures to prevent these. Some of the steps taken by the IITs include parent-teacher meetings and counselling to help distressed students.
On April 5 2017, a second-year B Tech Mining Engineering student and inmate of Ramanujan hostel of IIT allegedly committed suicide by first setting himself ablaze and then jumping off the third floor of his hostel building. Poor performance in an examination was cited as a reason.
In another instance, a 19-year-old student of IIT-Delhi, who was in depression as he didn't want to study engineering, allegedly attempted suicide by jumping off the terrace of a hostel building.
Sometimes, pressure from parents and peers also forces students to take up the field, even as their interest lies elsewhere. In such a scenario, though they succumb to pressure, they fail to cope up with it.
So, the idea of offering students mental assistance will especially come in handy for first-year students who often face intense pressure after clearing their joint entrance examination.
From IIT Kharagpur’s initiative of tree-hugging movements to IIT Guwahati organising a creativity centre for students to dance, sing and play instruments, the idea is to ease the pressure off of students. Not a single suicide has been reported since the introduction of the centre, said IIT Guwahati Director Gautam Biswas.
While IIT Delhi has included parent-teacher meetings in its curriculum, IIT Bombay has hired two counsellors and a psychiatrist to help students shake off their burden instead of taking fatal steps, reported The Economic Times.
Bharatiya Janata Party member Prahlad Joshi said examination stress, peer pressure, cricket betting and drug abuse were causing suicidal tendencies among students.
Due to rising competition in the field of medicine and engineering, 70 per cent of students aged 18-25 in these fields visit psychiatrists, according to Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences.
IIT Kharagpur has even dedicated a Facebook page just to respond to students’ agony. They have counsellors available 24x7 to take calls from students. Of the 11,000 students on the campus, 3,000 reached out for help in 2016.