Over 13,000 students died by suicide last year.

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According to the most recent numbers from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB report 2021), over 13,000 students committed suicide in India last year. In reality, there were 27% more student suicides in India during the five years from 2016 to 2021. In 2016, there were 9,478 student suicides reported in the country. This number rose to 10,335 in 2019 and 13,089 in 2021, when it represented 8% of all suicide cases. Over the same time period, there were 20% more suicide instances overall, going from 1,31,008 in 2016 to 1,64,033 in 2021.

The majority of student suicides were recorded in Maharashtra, according to the NCRB report Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2021, which was published on Monday. For more than 1,500 suicides among young people under 30 years old, the cause was “failure in examination.” According to reports over the years, the number of suicides increased most dramatically between 2020 and 2021, rising from 1,53,052 to 1,64,033, a 7.17% increase. The number of student suicides increased by 4% throughout that time, from 12,526 to 13,089.

NCRB: Student suicides, states

The NCRB has divided the data on suicide into nine occupational categories: students, professionals or salaried individuals, daily wage earners, retired individuals, unemployed individuals, individuals who are self-employed, housewives, individuals working in the agricultural sector, and other individuals. In 2021, the daily wage earners accounted for 42,004 suicide cases or 25.6% of all suicide cases.

7,396 men and 5,693 women out of the 13,089 students who committed suicide last year were male and female. According to state-specific data from the NCRB report 2021, 14.0% of students who committed suicide were in Maharashtra (1,834), followed by 10.0% in Madhya Pradesh (1,308), 9.5% in Tamil Nadu (1,246), and 6.5% in Karnataka (855).

Student suicide numbers

YearStudent suicidesPercentage of total
20169,4787.2
20179,9057.6
201810,1597.6
201910,3357.4
202012,5268.2
202113,0898.0

Students’ suicide reasons and prevention

According to the most recent NCRB study, a total of 1,673 people committed suicide in 2021 as a result of “failure in examination,” accounting for 1% of all suicides. In fact, although not all of them may have been students, “failure in examination” is the cause of almost 1,500 suicides among young people under the age of 30. The distribution by age is displayed below.

‘Failure in examination’ as a reason

Age bracketNumber of suicides
Below 18864
18-30714
30-4572
45-6020
Above 603

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that 24 student suicide incidents were reported by Central Universities under his ministry’s jurisdiction from 2017 to 2022 in a written response to Parliament on April 4, 2022. He claimed that the University Grants Commission, a regulator of higher education, gave the data (UGC). “Student suicide motives are not maintained,” he declared. When asked about the measures the central government is taking to stop student suicides, Pradhan mentioned a number of them, including the introduction of technical education in regional languages for students in order to reduce academic stress and peer-supported learning.

“Each suicide is a personal tragedy that prematurely steals the life of an individual and has a lasting ripple effect, affecting the lives of family, friends, and communities,” according to the NCRB report. AASRA, a Mumbai-based mental health NGO, presents a list of options here if you need assistance: http://www.aasra.info/helpline.html

Mayank Tewari

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