From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NCRB
Mains level : Mental Health
The article sheds light on the alarming rates of student suicides in Kota, primarily attributed to academic pressure. It explores the various pressures students face, their coping mechanisms, and the significant impact on mental health, emphasizing the urgent need for institutionalized counseling and holistic well-being programs.
- Student Suicides in Kota: According to NCRB data in 2021, student suicides in India accounted for 8% of total suicides. Kota, a prominent coaching hub, witnessed 25 suicides this year, raising concerns about academic pressure.
- Impact of NEET and JEE Exams: Students believe clearing these exams is crucial for a better life, leading to heightened stress. Almost 20% often suffer from thoughts related to under-performing, impacting mental health.
- Contributing Factors: Parental pressure, financial stress, and peer pressure contribute to students’ anxieties. Loneliness is prevalent, with 53% experiencing it occasionally.
Different Kinds of Pressures:
- NEET and JEE Significance: Students perceive success in NEET and JEE exams as vital for a better future, intensifying academic pressure.
- Fear of Under-Performance: Nearly 20% constantly grapple with thoughts of potential consequences if they under-perform, leading to heightened stress levels.
- Immediate Family Influence: Students with family members who studied in Kota before them often face additional academic pressure.
- Parental Expectations: Almost 10% experience frequent parental pressure, while a quarter encounters it occasionally, affecting mental well-being.
- Gender Disparity: Girls tend to face slightly higher parental pressure compared to boys, highlighting gender-specific challenges.
- Financial Pressure: 6% of students frequently feel financial stress, and 25% experience it occasionally, adding to the array of pressures.
Impact on Mental Health:
- Post-Coaching Mental Health: Close to 30% report a decline in mental health after joining coaching classes, indicating the adverse impact of the academic environment.
- Body Pain and Emotional Changes: A significant portion experiences heightened nervousness, mood swings, and physical discomfort, adversely affecting mental health.
- Loneliness Prevalence: More than half (53%) experience loneliness occasionally, reflecting the emotional toll of the academic journey in Kota.
- Psychological Strain: Emotional challenges such as increased nervousness, mood swings, and loneliness affect approximately three in every ten students.
- Anger and Frustration: Nearly 30% feel a rise in anger, and over a quarter report increased frustration and fear, showcasing the multifaceted impact on emotional well-being.
Challenges and concerns:
- Deteriorating Mental Health: Close to 30% feel their mental health worsened after joining coaching classes. Over 40% feel more fatigued, and many report increased nervousness, loneliness, and mood swings.
- Limited Professional Help: Despite poor mental health indicators, only 3% seek assistance from mental health professionals, emphasizing a lack of awareness and proactive initiatives.
- Need for Proactive Measures: Almost half (48%) don’t feel the need for mental health visits, underlining the necessity for more proactive efforts in promoting mental well-being.
- Advocacy for Mental Health: The data highlights the urgency of institutionalized counseling mechanisms and increased awareness to encourage young individuals to prioritize mental health.
- Implementing Comprehensive Counseling: Establishing structured counseling services within coaching centers and Kota to address students’ mental health needs.
- Promoting Awareness: Conducting awareness campaigns to emphasize the importance of seeking professional mental health support.
- Integrating Holistic Approaches: Incorporating holistic well-being programs that address not only academic stress but also overall physical and mental health.
- Educational Initiatives: Launching educational initiatives to equip students with coping skills and stress management techniques.
- Scholarship Programs: Expanding scholarship programs to ease financial burdens and create a more inclusive educational environment.