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How to mitigate rising suicidal tendencies among students?
The spate of suicides by students in Rajasthan's Kota - the coaching hub of India - went unabated this year too. Rather, the number of suicides increased despite all the measures like helplines, counselling facilities and use of music to mitigate the stress of coaching or studies for which the district administration made a lot of deliberations last year with coaching centres as the stakeholders in the new measure.

Recently, the CM of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje called a meeting of scores of psychologists to discuss the matter which went inclusive and another meeting got scheduled to suggest some concrete measures to stop the spate of suicides by coaches in the age group 14-18 years of age, I was told.

"The patchwork measures to reduce the stress caused by schools and coaching centres will work since these measures do not produce any changes in psycho-social and pedagogical foundations of the institutions that are the very sources of stress on students. Rather, the patchwork measures increase the stress among adolescent students leading to enhanced suicidal tendencies," said Dr. Savita Jagawat, a Jaipur-based clinical psychologist.

She added, "There is need to stop the nuisance of coaching and improve the quality of school education through better psycho-social environment of schools and introducing sound classroom processes. We need to realise that all entrance examinations are the screening tests and not the selection tests. There is also a need for parental education and counselling since they have become too ambitious and push many children into coaching causing cognitive stress and burden."

Another local psychologist, Dr Anita Srivastava, said weak psychological foundation and rote-learning methods were playing havoc with the emotional health of children giving rise to suicidal tendencies among children as young as 10 years old. She suggested that school and teacher education could only be helpful in this situation.

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