Every hour, one student commits suicide in India!!!

Student suicides in the country have increased by 52 per cent — from 17 every day (6,248) in 2007 to 26 every day in 2016. India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29. Around 75,000 students committed suicides in India between 2007 and 2016. Maharashtra (1,350, highest), West Bengal (1,147) and Tamil Nadu (981).

Expectations from parents and society play a big role.

Creatives by: Rajashree Bose 3rd Year Communication Design ISDI Mumbai | INDIA

Many students are forced to take just one holiday a year, following a 14-hour study schedule and sit exams on Sundays. Those who fail to follow the demanding study schedules feel responsible for disappointing their parents and falling behind their peers.

Many students who eventually pass the entrance exams feel even more pressure to excel at university, often taking their own lives when it all becomes too much.

Mental health issues in India

An inability to cope with small frustrations, failure and loss, often coupled with social alienation, creates a critical situation for many students. When it comes to mental health, Indian parents need to stop going into denial mode and issuing defensive statements like, “My child has no such problems!”

In April 2019, a woman college student was expelled from the hostel after she requested medical leave for a week. She had recently been diagnosed with moderate depressive disorder. 12 per cent of Indian students between the age of 4 and 16 suffer from psychiatric disorders. 20 per cent show signs of mental disorders, out of which 2–5 per cent have serious concerns like autism or bipolar disorder.

The word ‘depression’ itself has been diluted until its meaning is lost.

Many educational institutions and teachers are not yet fully equipped to understand the mental health issues of students. People use the words ‘depression’ and ‘sadness’ interchangeably. Even if people do talk about it, they state it like it’s a statement, not to be taken seriously!

SURVEY 2019: 19/24 students feel low often, with 60.9% feeling so due to academic pressure. All of them are unhappy with the current education system, feel it’s hopeless, want practical learning. Pressure in terms of education comes due to expectations from self, parents, peers, and the idea of living up to them. 16/24 reported issues such as depression, anxiety,etc., out of which only three sought help. Rest didn’t bother seeking help as it’s difficult to convince parents/societal stigmas. 18 parents did not believe in seeking help, considered it an excuse.

Take a break from Asian parenting!

A hypothetical campaign in collaboration with ITC’s stationery brand Classmate.

Communication Design Student at ISDI, Rajashree Bose’ creates a campaign which resonates with students who suffer from mental health issues as a result of excessive pressure and the Indian education system.

The word mental in India has many connotations, the popular one being “crazy”. Hence, the hashtag, #mentalINDIA, a direct and shocking approach to draw attention to these issues is the need of the hour.

Small steps

Creatives by: Rajashree Bose 3rd Year Communication Design ISDI Mumbai | INDIA

Supported by www.mentalindia.com is a website on which students and their parents can learn about mental health issues as well as seek help from verified therapists and share their own stories anonymously. There would be lectures and seminars arranged on promoting good mental health in students,

The seriousness of the issue needs to be tackled with first acceptance of the issue and then taking small steps to ensure that changing mass perceptions will take both time and effort from the very society that has perpetuated this mindset. Parents will be encouraged to reach out to their children with empathy and promote overall emotional development along with reasonable expectations.

Disclaimer: All creatives are hypothetical classroom projects.
All rights reserved ISDI.

Academic Mentor: Utkarsha Malkar

Indian School of Design & Innovation
ISDI Tower, One Indiabulls Centre,
Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel,
Mumbai 400013.

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