31 children died by suicide every day in 2020, reveals govt data; experts blame Covid-19

According to the National Crime Records Bureau data, 11,396 children died by suicide in 2020, an 18 per cent rise from 9,613 such deaths in 2019 and 21 per cent rise from 9,413 in 2018.

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NH Web Desk

An average of 31 children died by suicide every day in India in 2020, according to government data, with experts underlining that the COVID-19 pandemic may have accentuated the psychological trauma faced by children to a great extent.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau data, 11,396 children died by suicide in 2020, an 18 per cent rise from 9,613 such deaths in 2019 and 21 per cent rise from 9,413 in 2018.

The data mentions “family problems” as one of the main causes of these suicides attributing 4,006 deaths to it, followed by “love affair” (1,337) and illness (1,327). Other reasons behind suicide by children, as mentioned in the data, include ideological causes or hero-worshipping, unemployment, bankruptcy, impotency or infertility and drug abuse.

"While we as a society are cognisant of tangibles such as education and physical health for building national human capital, emotional wellbeing or psycho-social support often takes a back seat. The successively increasing number of suicides among children reflects a systemic failure," Prabhat Kumar, deputy director of Child Protection, Save the Children, said.

Kumar said it is a collective responsibility of parents, families, neighbourhoods, and government at large “to provide a conducive ecosystem where children can look forward to realising their potential and fulfilling their dreams for a bright future.” “Committing suicide, on the contrary, is an antithesis,” he added.

Commenting on the topic, Priti Mahara, Director, Policy Research and Advocacy at CRY-Child Rights and You, said from the very beginning of the pandemic, it was one of the major concerns that it might impact children''s mental health and psycho-social well-being, and the recent NCRB data actually underscores the fear that the pandemic may have accentuated the psychological trauma faced by the children to a great extent.

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