mid day editorial: Teens have it tough and need all our support

By Editorial | Mumbai

Updated: Sep 10, 2018, 10:39 IST

The teenage girl from Thane took the extreme step because she had an argument with her mother over oiling her hair

Just three days prior to World Suicide Prevention Day today, this paper ran a report about a 13-year-old jumping to death from a seventh-floor balcony. The teenage girl from Thane took the extreme step because she had an argument with her mother over oiling her hair. The arguments were a regular feature in the household. The cops have stated that she may have been teased in school because of her oily hair, though that has not been conclusively proved.

It is shocking that the girl took her life over such a trifling matter. If there was any kind of bullying or teasing in her school, it calls for an inquiry. The incident also calls for teaching children the value of life, and putting an immediate premium on life. Today, we see youngsters committing suicide because they were denied a cell phone, upbraided for watching a movie instead of studying, or other equally trivial reasons.

The teenage years and high school are turbulent at the best of times. Now, more than ever, schools must provide the option of counselling. Parents, too, must keep an open channel of communication with their children, and try to understand what is causing them grief.

We have to look at whether people have enough support systems, and spread awareness about depression and coping mechanisms. Even now, after some awareness has come about, depression is not treated with the gravitas it warrants. Myths abound and there is a danger of it being brushed off as a 'bad mood'.

Let us strengthen the quality of mental healthcare professionals, up the avenues for help and support, and make helplines more accessible and robust than they already are. With the family unit breaking down, it is imperative that qualified and professional agencies plug the lacunae.

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