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Examination Stress And Student Suicides; (A Public Health Issue) SOURCE: Dr. JAGDEEP KAUR BDS,PGDHA,MPH School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh. :

Examination Stress And Student Suicides; (A Public Health Issue) SOURCE: Dr. JAGDEEP KAUR BDS,PGDHA,MPH School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh.


Introduction Suicides have serious impact on Public Health and affect mortality status. Stress is a combination of mental, physical and emotional responses What creates stress? Exam pressures, low self esteem, poor self image, academic failure, rejection by others and lack of emotional and social support.

Indian scenario :

Indian scenario Over 16,000 students suicides in the last three years. (Acc. to Indian Health Ministry) Out of every three cases of suicide reported every 15 minutes in India, one is committed by a youth in the age group of 15 to 29. Every 90 minutes a teenager tries to commit suicide in India. Many of these attempts are half-hearted cries for attention, help and love. But every six hours, one succeeds Girls may be more likely to make suicidal attempts, but boys are more likely to make a truly lethal suicide attempt.

PowerPoint Presentation:

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences Christian Medical College, Vellore All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. National Crime Records Bureau

What tips a troubled teen over the edge??:

What tips a troubled teen over the edge?? 43% examination fear 40% sibling rivalry 36% issues at school 33% warring parents 20% fear of punishment 17% death of a loved one 17% distressed parents Source: Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, AIIMS

Reasons (For Exam Stress) :

Reasons (For Exam Stress) Faulty education system Pushy and unaware parents More expectations Childhood depression Inability to cope and mental weakness Biological changes Hormonal changes Copycat deaths

Warning signs of suicide:

Warning signs of suicide Anger, depression and excessive worries Reluctant to go to school Mood swings Anxiety and forgetfulness Tiredness Self hatred Sadness and suicidal talk Poor concentration Profuse sweating Lack of interest in studies despite efforts made Changes in sleep or eating patterns

Risk factors for suicide include:

Risk factors for suicide include Drug or alcohol abuse Exposure to violence in the home or the social environment Access to handguns, pesticides etc. at home Previous suicide attempts Close family member who has committed suicide Past psychiatric hospitalization Recent losses: death of a relative, a family divorce, or a breakup with a girlfriend. Social isolation


TAKE ACTION Three steps parents can take - Become informed (library, local support group, Internet) Support your child (listen, avoid criticism, remain connected) Get help (medical or mental health professional) Three steps teens can take - Take your friend’s actions seriously Encourage your friend to seek professional help, accompany if necessary Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t be alone in helping your friend.

Steps taken:

Steps taken NIMHANS holds suicide prevention workshops CMC, Vellore wants ban on the sale of lethal pesticides AIIMS is working on mental health in Delhi schools. Dr Jitender Nagpal and Dr Geetanjali Kumar have made a 40-minute short film (Smile Your Way Through Exams) CBSE runs a helpline ( tele-counselling facility) and has modified exam system – GRADING The Hindustan Times, runs a series called “Cracking the Boards.” Television programmes have psychiatrists and psychologists take questions and calm fears. Radio stations broadcast messages urging students to remain calm.

10th September: World suicide prevention day:

10th September: World suicide prevention day International Association For Suicide Prevention (IASP) in collaboration with WHO announced in 2003 and uses this day to call attention to suicide as a leading cause of premature and preventable death. Legal Issues – In India attempted suicide is a punishable offence. Section 309 of Indian Penal Code states that whoever attempts commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such an offence shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine or with both.


Interventions Education efforts to alert community Participation of Public Health experts along with psychologist, psychiatrist, school counselor and social workers Protecting and helping students in distress Awareness of suicidal behavior PTA meetings Peer counseling programmes Clear plans in place in advance


Suggestions Media should avoid repeated or sensationalistic coverage. Programmes and workshops for parenting The schools should have plans to deal with stress among children National suicide intervention programme. Providing support to those bereaved by suicide and decriminalizing attempted suicide. Complementary therapies to combat stress Chill-out zones in school to relax

Advice for parents and students:

Advice for parents and students Positive Attitude Rest & Recreation ( Sleep , Breaks, Exercise ,fresh air/sun) Good nutrition habits (Proper meals ,Less sugar/caffeine, 8 glasses of water daily , Fruits & vegetables) Autonomy & Space Support and guidance Affirmation & Praise Empathic Listener Unconditional love & regard


Conclusion Exams are important as their results influence future professional career. Every person has own optimal level of worry and anxiety, which helps him/ her to achieve the best results. We must learn how to control stress and extra anxiety for preparing for the test. If exams cause great worry, and there are some symptoms of exam stress (insomnia, rapid pulse, hands trembling and so on) we ought to do something about it. We must prepare students to handle stress in a better way. REF.docx

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