l He was a good-looking boy with average scholastic performance. In his 12 standard examination, he got ‘compartment’ in two subjects. That evening, he never returned home. For, he chose to end his life by jumping into a lake.
l The girl was brilliant, to say the least. Everybody looked at her with a lot of expectations. The family knew that she was a cut above the rest. Yet, in her 10th standard examination she ended up with 90% marks. Shocked by what she must have felt to be a low score, the teenage girl ended her life.
THESE two stories represent a wide range of similar episodes taking place year after year when critical examination results are declared across the country. Thus, we lose countless hundreds of such youngsters almost every year. Each of such episodes leaves in its wake a lot of deep and profound grief to be tackled by the family and friends. Despite the fact that many efforts are made regularly by people, such young suicides are still rampant, leaving us with prospects of having to face many more every year. Grim prospects! -- one must say. Of course, lakhs of other kids also suffer but manage to survive and rise above their own disappointments and griefs. And in due course of time, most of them are able to make some good sense out of their lives.
All of us have known countless such cases where the child has risen above intense disappointments and later on did well for himself or herself. Yet, those kids who cannot rise above their failures and rebuild their lives keep haunting the society. And as such cases get reported, advisories too spring from the society about how to handle the youngsters in throes of despair. Professional counselling is one way everybody suggests. Yes, that is generally a good method to tackle the problem of young despair. Yet, factually, the kids that take the extreme steps never reveal their ideas to anybody in the family or among friends. They just take the plunge to end life. If the family or friends are able to assess beforehand the possibilities of a child resorting to the extreme step, some efforts could be made to help the youngster. Beyond that, the society has found no way to stop young suicides particularly stemming from academic non-performance, or even failure in love-relations etc.
However, there is one major point the society must take into account if such suicides -- related to academic failures or low performance -- are to be stopped. That pertains to how the family handles the challenge of managing the young dreams and expectations. Studies have found that a lot of youngsters end their lives because some wrong ideas and unrealistic expectations get stuffed in their heads. Most unfortunately, the society in general and the family in particular is yet to realise that it may be pushing a child to taking an extreme step, thanks to foisting of unrealistic expectations on him or her. Having failed to rise to those expectations, the youngsters feel compelled to take the extreme step. But then, what about the eight-year-old girl who went into a room in the house, locked the door and burned herself after pouring petrol on herself? And what was the reason? Her mother did not give her the slab of chocolate she had been asking for!!!The girl lost her cool, and killed herself!!!
This may be an extreme case, some may say. But such cases do get reported from time to time from all over. Among the reasons that may be cited for such behaviour is the overall cantankerousness that becomes integral to a family’s culture. There are some unfortunate families in which some sort of unexplained anger continues to simmer all the time. In such families, people keep snapping at one another, keep hurting the feelings of the dear and near ones, and drive one another nuts in the most thoughtless manner.
An uncalmed anger often leads to some extreme behaviour whose meaning nobody understands. Perhaps, building an atmosphere of amiability and trust in the family can be a good way to stop suicides from taking place. There could be some other methods, too, to tackle the problem. But let us leave that to experts. For the moment, it is necessary to remind all that the problem is too serious to be left untackled.