17 | July | 2023
Why Suicide Prevention Classes are Essential in Schools
Suicide and suicide-related issues are extremely complex.
Given the extensive impact of these tragic incidents and the complex factors that contribute to them, it is necessary to handle them with a professional and sensitive approach. Over the past few decades, the rate of suicides among the youth is increasing. Students are often taking the path of self-destruction owing to various reasons.
There were more than 13,000 student suicides in 2021 in India at the rate of more than 35 every day and 12,526 suicides in 2020, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India (ADSI) report. The data received from this report also indicates that
over the five years from 2016 to 2021, the number of student suicides in India has risen by 27%. Statewise figures put Maharashtra on the top of the list of suicide deaths among students in 2021, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Tamilnadu, and Karnataka respectively.
The failure of society to address major issues along with the mental health problems among students has also led to the alarming rise of these statistics. Suicide is a subject that needs to be discussed in forums and suicide prevention classes in schools must be encouraged to tackle this problem. Suicide prevention classes in India aim to build the survival skills of the students and provide them with a support system. The classes are designed to tackle the problems faced by the students directly and provide them with advice and support.
Some of the problems faced by students that lead them to depression and suicide are-
- Failure in studies
- Physical, mental or sexual abuse
- Bullying in school
- Pressure of studies at home or school
- Relationship failure
- Struggling in the competitive world
Suicide prevention classes provide a platform for students to understand more about life and how to deal with stressful situations. The problems mentioned above are dealt with in the classes in a manner where the student does not feel ashamed and builds strength to face the challenges in life. Such classes in schools in India tackle subjects like substance abuse prevention strategies in India, cyberbullying in schools in India and even outside schools, as well as sexual abuse awareness classes in India among others.
To understand how effective can such classes be for a child and for the parent-teacher community, let us look at why such suicide prevention classes are essential in all schools
Most young minds are not even aware when they are falling prey to stress, anxiety, and depression. The root cause of the problem may be issues at home or outside but most of us, especially young children may not recognize the warning signs of such mental health issues. By integrating suicide prevention classes into the school curriculum, we can promote early intervention and increase awareness about mental health challenges. The early warning signs, risk factors, responses to adverse situations etc. can be discussed and explained in such classes. With the help of such classes, the student will know whom to turn to and how to seek help at the right time.
Acceptance and growing inner strength
Failure, stress, suicidal thoughts etc are looked upon as a stigma in our society. Sadness and depression are seen as signs of weakness. This is one of the reasons why students may keep the inner struggles within, and suffer alone. Most suicidal thoughts and depressive times are overcome with the help of proper support. With such classes in schools, we provide the much-needed acceptance to a child from within. This way the stigma surrounding mental health issues is dealt with. Also, by creating a safe environment that encourages dialogue, students feel more comfortable reaching out for help when they or someone they know is struggling. Suicide prevention programme in India aim at removing the social stigma associated with mental health issues.
Being an enabler
Suicide prevention classes become an enabler not just for the students but also for the entire community. By teaching the students coping mechanisms and skills to embrace challenging situations and grow their inner strength, such classes help build a positive outlook in society. The classes provide practical mechanisms and resilience-building ways to overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. It builds an atmosphere where children can voice their opinion, share their issues, and discuss with elders their struggles and pains. This way, an understanding and caring society is built.
Incorporating suicide prevention classes into the school curriculum also facilitates the development of strong peer support networks. The educator-student-parent triad becomes stronger. There will be more focused activity in this network to support the child. Such classes are not only aimed at the child but also the parent and the educator. They help in more awareness in the parent-educator community which in turn provides a pillar of support for the child. This equips teachers and parents with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify signs of distress among students. These classes can enhance the overall mental health literacy of educators and increase the sensitivity to identify and deal with such scenarios.
Providing advanced support
Suicide prevention classes in school can be a timely support service for any critical mental health cases that otherwise go unnoticed and neglected at school and home. With interaction with students and guiding them with their stress or anxiety issues, many a time such classes may identify critical cases and can help the child with advanced intervention and mental health support from experts in the field. Such forums and classes have often become a ray of hope and saving grace for many students.
Mental health issues are not to be kept hidden fearing social norms or pressures. Support and healthy social surroundings are the most important things that can help someone in such situations to rise. That is where suicide prevention classes in school are so important. These classes create awareness, reduce stigma, empower students with coping skills, foster peer support networks, and provide crucial training for teachers and staff. WAYNE MACDONALD’S CHILDREN SAFETY AND SURVIVAL PROGRAM (CSS PROGRAM) is specifically designed to provide students with the physical and emotional strength to prepare for challenging times. The program delivers the confidence to stay focused and take intelligent and responsible decisions. By implementing it in schools, the CSS Program acts as a much needed source of support for the students.
By incorporating such classes, schools can save lives, create a safe and supportive environment, and equip students with the tools they need to navigate the challenges they face. Suicide prevention classes in India aim to provide a support network for healthy discussions, and provide the requisite tools for the student to be confident and face challenges in life with determination. By prioritizing suicide prevention education, we can safeguard the mental health of our young generation and potentially save lives.