Watch them! There are lives to be saved

Watch them! There are lives to be saved

Till the late 1980s, Bangalore used to be termed as the ‘Pensioner’s paradise’ of the South. With the Information Technology boom, the city earned the sobriquet of ‘Silicon Valley of India’. Psychiatrists say that time is not far when Bangalore could be termed as the ‘Suicide Capital of India’. Some days witness even a dozen Bangaloreans taking up their lives.

The situation is not rosy in other parts of the country too. Chennai witnessed 2,450 suicides in 2013. The National Capital had 1, 753 people taking up their lives in the same year. The Maximum City of Mumbai had 1, 322 of its citizens committing suicide last year.

They are doing it young

But what is chilling is the number of children who take up their lives or attempt or contemplate suicide. A study by the premier mental health institute, NIMHANS, estimated that 11% of college students and 7-8% of school students have attempted suicide.

What more! An earlier study by NIMHANS had found out that 20% of children have subclinical depression and 30% suffer from mild to moderate depression. A leading daily quoting an eminent psychiatrist of Mumbai had mentioned about a 6-year old child attempting suicide. Another leading Mumbai psychiatrist was also mentioned in the same report of treating more students for depression over the last 2 decades.

What is responsible for the ‘blues’


The reasons for childhood and adolescent depression vary from person to person. Psychiatrists say that the vulnerability of our children to stress and the accompanying unrealistic pressure to perform academically is one of the main reasons for depression. Not to be left behind are other issues like bullying, failed romantic relationships, guilt and strained parental relationships.

Is there a connect

Psychiatrists say that it is very common among Indian parents to ignore the signs of childhood depression as short episodes of sadness. But most of us fail to realize that majority of the suicide victims would have been depressed at the time of taking up their lives. So, if you are a parent or teacher, it assumes utmost importance to notice the signs of childhood depression at the onset and get him/ her counseled from a clinical psychologist or treated by a child psychiatrist. Finally, there are lives to be saved.

How does it look like


Psychiatrists say that the following are the warning signs of depression in kids and adolescents:

  • Constant feeling of sadness, guilt and hopelessness
  • Drop in school grades
  • Frequent irritability, anger or anxiety
  • Disinterest in going to school and playing
  • Disinterest in activities previously enjoyed by the kid
  • Lack of interest to talk to friends, parents and siblings
  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Constant episodes of crying
  • Low energy levels or fatigue
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Sleeping too little or more
  • Weight loss.

One should note that a child can have only a few of these symptoms and still be depressed. In case, your student or your kid shows any of the above symptoms, don’t ignore them. Find a trusted psychologist nearest to you for consultation here:

Alternatively, you can take your kid or student to a psychiatrist for effective treatment. One can locate an experienced psychiatrist in any city in India here:

What else can you do

In case you kid is depressed, psychiatrists advise the following in addition to treatment:

  • Don’t scold/ tease the kid about depression
  • Tell him how much you love him/ her irrespective of what had happened
  • Spend more time with your depressed kid
  • Make sure he/ she is eating adequate quantities of healthy nutritious food
  • Ensure your kid sleeps adequately
  • Make him exercise
  • Never leave your kid alone until he/she is completely cured of the bout of depression.

And finally, even if the kid shows signs of improvement, don’t stop the treatment and medication till the time it is advised by the treating psychiatrist.

Can we stop it in its tracks

Is the modern generation of kids more prone to stress and depression? May be, yes. Even though the onset of a good number of depression cases cannot be prevented, psychiatrists say that if parents adopt the following steps or lifestyle changes, then it is indeed possible to ward off depression among adolescents and kids:

  • Make it a habit to talk to your kids regularly
  • Encourage a culture where kids can approach you freely
  • Monitor your kids’ performance at school regularly, but make sure that you don’t put overt stress on them to perform academically
  • Watch your child’s friend circle
  • Meet your kid’s teacher at regular intervals, as they are the ones who interact a lot with him/her
  • Encourage healthy eating and sleeping habits.

Depression can be prevented, and if it happens, can be treated too. Every child has a right to a stress-free existence and let’s join hands to make the childhood journey replete with joy, amazement and contentment.