Boys more vulnerable to suicide than girls during exams

March 26th, 2008 - 10:03 am ICT by admin  

By Shweta Sharma
New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Boys are more vulnerable to committing suicide than girls, particularly during the tense and high pressure examination days, say health experts. A rise in the number of suicides among school students has set alarm bells ringing in the health fraternity. March is the time when the crucial Class 10 and 12 board exams are held in Indian schools.

“Young boys are three times more vulnerable to committing suicide in comparison to girls,” said Samir Parikh, chief of the Department of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare.

Parikh told IANS: “Teen Suicide is a national disaster which is not curable, but a preventable issue. Our focus should be on becoming a performance-oriented society and not a result-oriented society.”

“Often amid the tension of the result and the performance level of the student during examinations, an adolescent might feel low, face sleep disruption and avoid talking even to his/her friends,” Parikh explained.

He said such symptoms indicate depression. “Depression is the most common cause of suicide among youngsters,” he said and added that the person concerned must seek immediate medical assistance for the same.

Other causes which abet adolescent suicides include mental disorders, social and precipitating factors like loss of identity among peers, family conflicts, chaotic environment, rejection and relationship problems.

Sanjay Chugh, leading psychiatrist and founder chairman of the International Institute of Mental Health, said: “Girls attempt suicide more often but more boys end up dying as their attempts are successful.”

He said adolescent girls seek support from family and friends to deal with emotional stress during examination. But as boys are less expressive, they tend to suppress their feelings of inadequacy and fear of poor performance. This often drives them to suicide to end their frustration.

Chugh said students should understand that there is nothing that cannot be handled or dealt with. “Every cloud has a silver lining and students just need to be a little patient to be able to see it,” he said.

In recent days, students taking the board examinations as well as those in other classes have succumbed to examination pressure and ended their lives.

A Class 7 student allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in his southwest Delhi home March 13, a day after another student ended his life in the same area apparently after failing.

A Class 12 student hanged herself in her northeast Delhi home March 9. A Class 6 student committed suicide by hanging himself in his Vasant Vihar house March 12 apparently after failing in his school examinations.

Monica Chib, senior consultant psychiatrist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, said that the load of studies goes up during board exams and hence the stress increases by almost 50 percent.

“That the number of suicides among adolescents increases during board examinations is no surprise. They are under pressure to perform well,” she said.

Chib blames parents and teachers for the increasing tension during the examination period. She said: “Parents and teachers create a do-or-die situation for their children which often unnerves them. Instead, they should comfort the youngsters by trying to talk about it.”

Agrees Preeti Jain, mother of a student appearing for the board exams: “I support and trust my child in every way. It is very important to place full faith in one’s child and not force them to take up subjects that are not of their choice,” she said.

(Shweta Thakur can be contacted at

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