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35,590 Students Died By Suicide Between 2019-2021: Govt in Parliament

As many as 35,950 students lost their lives to suicide between 2019-2021 in India.

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(Trigger Warning: Descriptions of suicide. If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs.)

As many as 35,950 students lost their lives to suicide between 2019-2021 in India.

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Abbaiah Narayanaswamy, revealed this data in the Parliament on Tuesday, 5 December.

He was responding to a question by Janata Dal (United) leader Dr Alok Kumar Suman about the number of SC/ST students who died by suicide due to social discrimination.

Narayaswamy told the Parliament that there is “no information regarding the number of SC, ST students committed suicides due to the social discrimination in the country.”

Big Points:

  • 10,335 students died by suicide in 2019.

  • 12,526 students died by suicide in 2020.

  • 13,089 students died by suicide in 2021.

  • In 2021, Maharashtra saw the most number of student suicides, according to NCRB data. As many as 1,834 students were pushed to take their lives.

  • In 2020 and 2019 too, Maharashtra was at the top of this list when the state saw 1,648 and 1,487 student suicides respectively.

  • The lowest number of suicides recorded was in Lakshwadeep at zero for all three years.

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Narayaswamy’s answer went on to mention that the Department of Higher Education has established, among others, these bodies in educational institutions:

  • Counselling Cell

  • SC/ST Students’ Cell

  • Equal Opportunity Cell

  • Students Grievance Cel

Why This Matters: Earlier this year, in February, a first year BTech student at IIT Bombay, Darshan Solanki, died by suicide. A First Information Report was filed in the case under various sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Since then, several reports have emerged with students alleging caste discrimination in the campus.

At least two students from IIT Madras also died by suicide in 2023.

Student suicides have also been increasingly recorded in 2023 in India. In Rajasthan's Kota, the infamous coaching factory, at least 29 students have died by suicide this year alone.

In an attempt to address the high student suicide rate, the Rajasthan government also issued guidelines for coaching institutes in September. The Centre too issued guidelines, called UMMEED, for schools emphasising that students' mental health needs to be focused on.

As many as 35,950 students lost their lives to suicide between 2019-2021 in India.

State wise data on the number of suicides.

(Photo: Screengrab from Lok Sabha answers)

(Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story carried inaccurate information about the number students who died by suicide from the SC/ST community. The error is regretted.)

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