Tuesday, June 17, 2014
When people imagine college life, they think of studying, socializing, and learning. No one thinks of suicide. However, at IIT Kharagpur, suicide is becoming a terrible trend. In the past six years, the university has seen an unprecedented twenty-two suicides. Many school officials say that this number is very high compared to those of the past
In March of this year, there were two student suicides that happened within a two-week span. Boga Shravan, age twenty-four, committed suicide on March 17 and Lokesh Kumar Goyel, age twenty-two committed suicide on March 30. Both students hung themselves in their rooms. Boga was a computer science student and Lokesh was in his final year of chemical engineering.
These suicides really took an emotional toll on both the students and faculty. Instead of being able to focus on work, these students must mourn the deaths of their peers. Depression has been speculated in both cases as Boga had completely left Facebook after years of avid use and Kumar admitted in his suicide note that he was facing “some kind of depression”.
Although often shunned, depression is a prevalent issue at every IIT. Currently over 200 students are seeing doctors at IIT Kharagpur. These psychologists aim to catch depression at its early stages in order to medicate those afflicted.
The major reason why these students face depression is because of the incredibly intense workload at IIT. These students spend sixteen hours a day, trying to get decent marks in some of the hardest classes. Students must learn very technical things and compete for the best grades. This difficult life perpetuates throughout college and can be very daunting. Even after students graduate, there is no guarantee of a decent paying job.
In Boga’s case, he had received a job with a much lower salary than he had expected. Believing all the hard work in school resulted in almost nothing is a serious stressor for these young adults.
IIT should work to do more to ensure its students have access to psychologists and counselors whenever they need them. It is important that these students who lead very stressful lives can seek someone to talk to about their issues.
Additionally, a critical supplementary issue is lack of media coverage. There is very little information presented about student depression at IIT. Depression is still a very embarrassing topic for many Indians. Those suffering from psychological disorders still face brutal ostracism and as a result, many avoid diagnosis.
A byproduct is self medication through alcohol and illegal drugs. The only way to combat this stigma is to expose people to the consequences of undiagnosed disorders. We need to spread the idea that afflictions like depression can be treated and is important to be treated.