In the last few weeks, many of the Indian cities were shaken up and taken aback by a series of teenage suicides that all linked to the deadly blue whale game. The shocking reports have created reasonable alarm among parents as well as authorities. The questions raised by these ill-fated incidents aren’t trivial. The teen suicides point to a carelessly overlooked portion of our public health agenda – teen mental health.
Teenagers generally take up deadly risks because they are vulnerable and prone to seek attention as well as acceptance. Apparently, the teenagers who were addicted to such lethal games might be going through psychological issues like lack of focus, interest, feeling inadequate or incompetent. Such individuals are tempted towards the so called deadly adventures that give them a sense of self-satisfaction. This particular urge for the teens to defy the socially accepted norms might end up in disasters.
Parents and schools have a very vital role play in supporting the disturbed teen minds. If a child is seemingly lost, lonely and depressed, parents and school managements must be potent enough to identify it and discuss it with the child. All possible measures to get them involved socially and divert their mind by providing activities or giving them something new to learn.
World Health Organisation (WHO) survey in 2007 in India revealed that 25 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls between 13 and 15 years of age experience depression. The suicide rate among the age group 15-29 is 35 per 100,000 people. India’s National Mental Health Survey released in 2017 revealed that 150 million Indians including teenagers need mental health services.
All these figures underpin the need of allocating more funds on teen mental health service. Though there are counseling departments working in a few district hospitals and medical colleges, its number has to be considerably increased. Opening more health departments to address adolescent mental health disorders is thus the need of the hour. The government is suggested to seriously look into teen mental health, a disregarded yet a very important aspect in building up a psychologically healthy country.