Student Suicides: When Will Society Realise Academics Don't Define Students?

Student suicide is a result of the "pressure cooker" atmosphere created by society. Parents' acute expectations, constant comparisons, extreme pressure from schools and coaching centers, and unhealthy competition among peers are all factors that take a toll on students' emotional health.

Kalyani Ganesan
Updated On
New Update
Student Suicides In India
Student suicide rates have been alarmingly increasing to an all-time high. In recent news, a government school student of class 10 from Panchkula ended her life by hanging herself after failing twice in the class 10 exam. With the public exams fast approaching, the JEE session 1 results out, registrations for JEE session 2 opening soon, and the NEET exams coming up in May, the pressure to perform well is rising among students.

Students feel pressure to perform well to pursue their dreams, to satisfy their parents, to compete with peers, and to prove their worth to society. This not only scares and stresses them out, but it also causes anxiety and depression. In the worst-case scenario, depression drives some students to commit suicide.

According to the data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), student suicide in 2022 saw an increase of 4.5% as compared to 2021. The highest number of student suicide cases come from Maharashtra, with 1,834 cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 1,308 and Tamil Nadu with 1,246. The reports say that student suicides have been steadily increasing in the last five years.

Student Suicides During Exam

The grappling fear of failing or not performing well enough in competitive exams drive students into depression. The recurring news about student suicide cases that we come across in the media, especially during the exam season, makes us wonder where we are going wrong. What is driving students to take this extreme decision? What can we do to prevent this?

Student suicide is a result of the "pressure cooker" atmosphere created by society as a whole. From acute expectations by parents to constant comparisons to extreme pressure by schools and coaching centres to unhealthy competition among peers, the pressure really takes a toll on the emotional health of students. The first thing that most relatives or neighbours ask children, even before exchanging pleasantries, is, "Padhai kaise chal rahi hai, beta? Or "Kaise marks aaye?" It's as if everyone is only bothered about academic performance and not the happiness or well-being of children.

Some parents become intensely aggressive when their children don’t perform well in academics. They go to the extent of physically, verbally, and emotionally abusing their children. Sometimes parents even shame their children publicly and deny them basic needs. When parents punish their children for failing academically rather than determining why their children are falling behind, how they can help, or assuring them that academic scores do not define life, it leaves children with a lifelong emotional scar. Who will children go to when parents fail to understand and support them? When parents tell their children that they have disappointed them and view their children as failures, they destroy their self-worth and self-love.


After ninth grade, schools and coaching institutions focus solely on academics. Extra classes after school hours and on weekends, back-to-back tests, and no time to relax are too overwhelming. Naturally, the relentless pressure to ace through the challenging curriculum will burn out children.

Academics are a vital part of children's lives, but there is so much more to life than exams and grades. Parents need to realise that their children could be talented in different arenas other than academics. The only way parents can help their children pursue their passions is by being understanding and supportive. Instead, when parents put undue pressure on them to do well academically, get good grades, gain admission into reputed universities, and bag well-paying careers, children are spun into a web of self-doubt, self-hatred, and low self-esteem.

When is society going to realise that students are pushed down the path of depression due to falling short of society’s impractical expectations? When are parents and teachers going to stop comparing the performance of children and creating an unhealthy competition among them? Even after statistics prove that academic stress is the biggest cause of student suicide, why is society not prioritising the mental health of students?

Despite the fact that many people achieve in fields other than academia, why is it so difficult for society to accept that academics do not define life? This is a collective failure of society and thus needs a collective solution. Unless society collectively addresses the causes of student suicide and implements realistic solutions, the death rates are not going to decline.

Suggested Reading: Bengaluru Law Student Allegedly Suicide, Police filed Case

student suicide India student suicides during exams