Over 65% rise in students seeking mental health counselling

New Delhi, Jan 10 : A rising number of student suicides has highlighted the need to introduce robust mental health initiatives time and again. There are deeper psychologically concerning issues that students deal with on a daily basis that, in the lack of a desired support system, overwhelms with a sense of helplessness.

A staggering 35,950 students lost their lives to suicide between 2019-2021 in India. According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), in 2020, a student took their own life every 42 minutes; that is, every day, more than 34 students died by suicide. More students died by suicide than farmers in 2020. These suicides are reported across premier institutions, students preparing for competitive exams or board exams.

According to Peakmind’s Observation, there was nearly a 65% increase in the number of students seeking counselling during last year in the age bracket of 14-20 years. The most common pain points that students have reached out to address are their inability to concentrate in studies, academic distress caused by performance pressure and test anxiety, fear of failure, lack of motivation, disturbed sleep, recurring negative thoughts & self-doubts, low energy followed by relationship issues and the general anxiety about their future. The major reason behind their ability to concentrate is the digital and social media addiction and the lack of effective guidance that’s the need of the hour. The observation took into account the data collected from January to December 2023. This is a promising sign as it reflects that more and more students are realizing the importance and impact that counselling has on their psychological well-being. PeakMind has helped more than One Lakh students and has tie-ups with leading educational institutes.

Neeraj Kumar, Founder and CEO of PeakMind said, “The alarming numbers of suicides indicate that we, as a society, are not able to provide an emotionally supportive and intellectually enriching environment for individuals to thrive in. When it comes to preventive care, our efforts should focus increasingly on young adults, who are dealing with insurmountable demands of education, career and relationships. It is comforting to see that young adults are recognizing the need to seek experts’ help. But there is no better cure than prevention, we need to work at developing and leveraging technology to identify the vulnerable youth who might be struggling, more than others, in meeting the demands of life. Once identified, constructive steps should be taken to provide customized care and support which would help them in not only overcoming the issues that they are battling but also enhance their overall psychological well-being. It will aid them immensely in recognizing their untapped potential and performing well in every sphere of their life.”

The results of the PeakMind’s Observation, a premier platform with the goal of equipping students to be competitive, performance-oriented, optimistic, mindful, and mentally resilient, fostering both success in competitions and overall holistic development.

The spate of student suicides has led the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) to develop the draft UMMEED (Understand, Motivate, Manage, Empathise, Empower, Develop) guidelines with ‘Every Child Matters’ as the underlying belief. These guidelines have prioritized the setting up of School Wellness Teams (SWT) to identify vulnerable students exhibiting warning signs and provide much-needed support.

They also suggest protective factors including helping children develop positive self-esteem, encouraging peer support, and enhancing students’ life skills and resilience to be able to deal with conflicts, failures and rejection.

Both the private and government sectors need to work actively towards providing and facilitating a safe and conducive environment for healthy psychological development and support. With time, the impact of such measures would bear promising results.