I have a Solution that will reduce pressure on IIT aspirants but do not know how to get this across to HRD Minister of India. Suggestions are welcome. - Ram Krishnaswamy

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Monday, December 29, 2014

290 - Junior colleges fail to teach life skills - Deccan Chronicle

DC CORRESPONDENT | December 28, 2014, 05.12 am IST

Hyderabad: It is often alleged that the reason many students from the two Telugu-speaking states commit suicide at the IITs is the way coaching institutions and corporate junior colleges teach them prior to their admission to the premier institutes.

Experts say that while the students are prepared academically, emphasis on character building is almost non-existent.

Students at coaching institutions have almost no time to think of anything apart from academics.

Read: Facebook page slams private colleges

Counselling sessions do not exist and while day scholars at least have family support, the hostellers are truly at loss.

Also, most of the Telugu IIT students who committed suicides, had prepared for the JEE in corporate junior colleges.  The latest victim, Kaki Parameswara Rao, had also studied away from his home in a corporate college at Vizag. And so did many victims before him.

 It would, of course, be wrong to blame just coaching institutions for all the suicides, but they do contribute to the problem along with other factors, including the student’s own psyche. Corporate colleges pay little attention to the emotional stress that students face or are likely to face in the future.

K. Shashank, a BITS-Pilani Hyderabad alumnus, who also studied in a corporate college, says, “Corporate colleges often feel like closed boxes. It is worse for the hostel students because they are hardly exposed to anything other than books”

“Many students settle for mediocre colleges and not for long-term coaching institutes just because they don’t want to go be in that environment. Nobody cares about the emotions of a student at the coaching institutes,” another graduate of a corporate college and Manipal alumnus B. Aditya Sree said.

FIITJEE mentor director Dr P. Anand Raman claims coaching institutions just manufacture machines and don’t turn out individuals. “Coaching institutions are there to coach students and help them get ranks. Even parents want that. They want their children to work hard and get into IITs. They seldom think about the emotions of their children,” remarked a senior lecturer.

289 - Most who end lives from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh - Deccan Chronicle

DC CORRESPONDENT | December 27, 2014, 01.12 am IST

The Task Force also exhorted IITs and other institutions to set up counselling centres for the benefit of students.

Hyderabad: Over the last 25 years, nearly 66 IIT students have committed suicide and, strikingly, more than 20 of them have been from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State.

This year has already witnessed 16 suicides while in 2011, there were 10 suicides in different IIT campuses across the country.
The two years in between 2012 and 2013 fortunately had fewer suicides, but the trend of increasing suicide numbers is apparent. This year, nearly six IIT students from AP and TS committed suicides.

A Task Force report of the HRD ministry on suicides in higher education institutions had said that the most common reasons for suicide were relationship issues, personal problems, mental stress, and family problems. Poor grades were also found to fuel suicide cases, said the report.

The Task Force also exhorted IITs and other institutions to set up counselling centres for the benefit of students. Some of the IITs have already set up the counselling centres.

But this hasn’t arrested the spike in the number of suicides. IIT Kanpur has a full-fledged counselling centre, but also has the infamous tag of having the highest number of suicides.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

288 - IIT - Guwahati student commits suicide (26-12-2014) - ABN Telugu - You Tube

287 - IIT Guwahati suicide case: Mug up race takes a toll - Deccan Chronicle

DC | Amar Tejaswi | December 27, 2014, 07.12 am IST

The pressure of excelling at everything you do makes you emotionally weak. More emphasis should be laid on support and guidance.”

Hyderabad: The alleged suicide of K. Parameswara Rao from Visakhapatnam at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, on Thursday has ignited the debate on the competitive environment in IITs and the rising suicide rate.

Experts say that the difference in learning at coaching classes (before the Joint Entrance Exam) and at the IIT, demotivates a lot of students, driving them to suicide.

While academic pressure is most often blamed, the alumni of IITs say the skewed expectations of students themselves are a common reason for suicide.

The exact cause of Parameswara Rao’s death is yet to be ascertained, but it is thought that low grades pushed him to suicide.

Dr P. Anand Raman, mentor-director at FIITJEE, Hyderabad, said that the transition from learning in JEE coaching classes to learning at IITs is quite precarious though the environment in IITs is not the most vigorous.

“With the predictable format and questions of JEE now, students are encouraged to rote learn. But when they go to IITs, they find it requires the  individual application of one’s mind.

That’s what happened with the topper of IIT JEE 2010. When he passed out of IIT-Bombay his CGPA, was only 7. Teaching systems are different and so they get de-motivated.”

Experts rue the fact that while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State send the most students to IITs, students from these two states also have the highest suicide rate.

Shilpa Muduy, an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur, said, “The curriculum in IITs doesn’t put pressure on students but the environment does.

The pressure of excelling at everything you do makes you emotionally weak. More emphasis should be laid on support and guidance.”

While parents, whose wards have committed suicides in IITs always assert that their children were academically brilliant, low grades are the most common reason.

Sky-high expectations are another reason. “The biggest problem is skewed expectations from all quarters, including the students themselves.

At that age, everything feels like the end of the world. They require counselling. Colleges must set up units to address issues ranging from academic, monetary and relationships to internships and placements,” said Sri Nitya A., an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur. Alumni also suggest setting up of anonymous hotlines like in the United States.

Students from economically weaker sections face a steeper climb, and if they miss a step, it adds to the emotional pressure. “Students from economically weaker sections face the lack of emotional support from parents, which affluent students get.

They also have a lot of responsibilities. They feel they have to get a good job to support their parents,” an IIT- Hyderabad professor said.

Students also get distracted and obsessed with new-found freedom, sitcoms, movies, gaming and relationships.
“In school, many believe that getting into an IIT and landing a job is the final milestone of their life and it will be a smooth ride post that.

When their grades suffer and the axe looms, they get depressed and frustrated,” Sumit Kumar, an alumnus of IIT Madras said.

286 - B Tech student K Parameswara Rao was coming home in January- Deccan Chronicle

DC CORRESPONDENT | December 27, 2014, 01.12 am IST

Parameswara Rao’s relatives mourn in K. Kotapadu of Vizag district on Friday. — DC

Visakhapatnam: Parents and relatives of 20 year old Kaki Parameswara Rao, the final year B.Tech student at IIT Guwahati, have raised doubts over his death. He was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his hostel room on Thursday afternoon.

The student hails from K Kotapadu area of Vizag district. His father K. Venkata Rao runs a paan shop.

“We don’t know what happened at IIT-Guwahati on December 24 evening and we are not in a position to trust the institute professors. I know my son was brilliant, brave and confident. He would not take such a drastic step over low grades,” said Mr Rao.

His maternal uncle N. Venkata Rao said Parmeswara spoke to him December 23 and said he would come home for Sankranti.

Neither authorities nor Parameswara’s friends have spoken about what happened. The mortal remains of the student were sent to Delhi on Friday and will reach Vizag city on Saturday morning. His family has said they are waiting for the post-mortem report and fight for justice.

285 - Grim mood grips campus; Rao was outgoing, say friends - Deccan Chronicle

Grim mood grips campus; Rao was outgoing, say friends
DC CORRESPONDENT | December 27, 2014, 01.12 am IST

Kaki Parameswara Rao

Visakhapatnam: IIT Guwahati student K. Parameswara Rao’s suicide on Thursday has left his batch mates in a state of shock.
His batchmates say that while some students from rural and economically weak backgrounds are expected to take time to cope up with the new and challenging environment of the premier institution, Rao was an outgoing and jovial person.

“Rao was the maintenance secretary for Barak Hostel for one year. Being a is maintenance secretary is not a trivial matter since it is a role with several responsibilities.

Being a hostel secretary he also made many friends. How can there be doubts that he was a secluded person?” said one of his batchmates.

He added, “A and grim mood has gripped the institute. Students are shocked as Rao never showed any signs of being in depression. He was very active. He played cricket with his friends just the day before.”

A condolence meeting was organised in his memory on Friday by students and administration.

284 - Visakhapatnam student ends life at IIT Guwahati

Visakhapatnam student ends life at IIT Guwahati
DC CORRESPONDENT | December 26, 2014, 01.12 am IST

Kaki Parameswara Rao

Visakhapatnam: Kaki Parameswara Rao from Vizag, a B.Tech (mechanical engineering) student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, allegedly committed suicide by hanging from a ceiling fan in the hostel on Thursday.

According to reports from various sources, Rao hails from K. Kotapadu of Vizag district. His father K. Venkata Rao runs a paan shop.

Sources also said that he had played cricket with his friends on Wednesday on the campus. He had then gone to his room and didn’t come out. His friends went to his room and found him hanging from the ceiling fan. The doors and windows were locked from inside.

The reason for the suicide is yet to ascertained. However, it is suspected that he ended his life because he allegedly failed to clear an examination.

His father has said he never expected his son to take such an extreme step. He also said that there were no signs of any kind of depression either.

283 - City student ends life at Guwahati IIT - The Hindu

VISAKHAPATNAM, December 25, 2014
Updated: December 25, 2014 23:23 IST

City student ends life at Guwahati IIT

A student from Visakhapatnam, studying mechanical engineering at IIT-Guwahati, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan at the hostel on Thursday.
The final year student, K. Parameshwar Rao, was found hanging by his classmates in the afternoon.

According to early reports from Guwahati campus, Parameshwar Rao was a very bright student and had played cricket with his friends till late in the evening on Wednesday. Then, he had gone to his room and did not come out in the morning. Assuming that he had a late night study session, his friend did not disturb him. But when he did not turn up for lunch they got suspicious and tried calling him.

His phone was found to be switched off. Then his friends went to his room and found that the door and the windows were locked from inside. They peeked into the room through the ventilator and found him hanging from the ceiling fan.
They informed the management and the police broke open the door and moved the body for post-mortem to the government hospital in Guwahati.

The distraught students from the campus who spoke to The Hindu, said that he had been cheerful till Wednesday evening and showed no signs of any kind of depression or problem.

Son of K. Venkata Rao, who runs a pan shop at K. Kothapadu village of the district, the student had studied his Intermediate in Visakhapatnam and qualified for IIT-JEE from a corporate college.

282 - Vizag student commits suicide in IIT-G - TNN

Vizag student commits suicide in IIT-G
TNN | Dec 26, 2014, 06.08AM IST

VISAKHAPATNAM: A final year B Tech student of IIT Guwahati , Kaki Parameswara Rao, a native of Visakhapatnam district, was found hanging from the ceiling in his hostel room on Thursday afternoon. 

According to sources, Parameswara Rao had committed suicide as he failed in some subjects in previous examinations. Rao hails from K Kothapadu village in the district and was pursuing his final year in mechanical engineering. 

One of the hostellers saw Parameswara hanging from the ceiling in the afternoon. He was with his friends on Wednesday evening and after having dinner, he had gone to his room in Barak Hostel on the IIT campus, the sources said adding after that there was no sight of Parameswara on the campus. 

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Depressed over his poor performance in the exams, Rao ended his life, the sources said. His father runs a paan shop in their village. 

Parameswara Rao had studied Intermediate in one of the corporate colleges in the Port City and had got a good rank in IIT-JEE. 

281 - Student from Vizag District Commits Suicide in IIT-Guwahati Hostel Room - NEW INDIAN EXPRESS

By Express News Service
Published: 26th December 2014 06:03 AM
Last Updated: 26th December 2014 06:03 AM

VISAKHAPATNAM: K Parameswara Rao, a final year B.Tech student from Visakhapatnam district, allegedly committed suicide at his hostel room on the IIT campus in Guwahati on Thursday.

IIT-G officials confirmed that Rao, said to be a merit student from a humble background, was found hanging from the ceiling. According to IIT-Guwahati assistant registrar LK Konwar, Rao’s roommates saw him fast asleep in the hostel room when they last saw him.

“The college was closed on the occasion of Christmas. His friends returned to the campus in the afternoon after a visit to Guwahati and went to the ground to play cricket. Realising that Rao, who played cricket with them the previous day, was absent, they knocked on his door to invite him,” Konwar told Express. With no response forthcoming and the doors locked from inside, they suspected that something was amiss and immediately alerted the authorities. Police, who broke open the doors, found Rao hanging.

Rao’s father, K Venkata Rao, a pan shop owner at K Kotapadu, was informed soon after. The mechanical engineering student’s family members, accompanied by relatives and friends, left for Guwahati immediately.  The exact reason for Rao’s suicide remains unclear. His friends and faculty members at the IIT-G said he was in good spirits when they had last interacted with him. However, it is suspected that low grades in examinations could have driven him to take the extreme step.

But his friends insisted that Rao did not betray any signs of depression over his alleged low grades. “In fact, he played cricket on Wednesday till evening despite the cold weather and later, had dinner with us. He even sent SMSes from his mobile wishing his Christian friends a ‘Merry Christmas’,” a classmate said.  

Faculty members said they were in shock as such an incident had not taken place on the campus in recent times. A condolence meeting was held Thursday evening to mourn Rao.

Friday, December 26, 2014

280 - IIT-Guwahati student commits suicide - dna India

Thursday, 25 December 2014 - 6:50pm IST | Place: Guwahati | Agency: PTI

A final year B.Tech student of IIT-Guwahati today allegedly committed suicide in his hostel room. The student, identified as T Parameswar Rao, was found hanging in his hostel room this afternoon, an IIT-G spokesman said.

Rao hailed from Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
The police sent the body for postmortem to Guwahati Medical College Hospital.

The exact cause of incident was yet to be ascertained though it was suspected that his getting low grades in examinations could be a reason. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

279 - BITS Pilani student commits suicide - IBN Live

Jul 22, 2011 at 09:27am IST

  • HYDERABAD: A PhD student of BITS Pilani reportedly committed suicide by jumping to death from atop a building on the campus on Thursday. The reasons for the extreme step are not yet known. Preliminary investigation led the police to believe that it could be a case of a failed love affair.

Thimmappa Manjushetty, 30, was staying in room no 116 of Gandhi Bhavan block on the BITS Pilani campus in Jawaharnagar mandal outskirts under the Alwal police station limits. 

Thimmappa, a native of Karnataka, was pursuing his PhD in pharmacy and joined the institute in 2008. He was on the verge of completing his PhD in the next couple of months.  According to Alwal police inspector J Pushpan Kumar, Thimmappa went out of the campus on Wednesday and returned at night. He did not reportedly speak to any of the other students and went inside his room. “Many of the hosteliers left to their respective places as it was vacation. 

There were just a couple of students staying on the campus,” Pushpan Kumar said. Only a couple of students were in the hostel in the first floor of the block. On Thursday, workers sweeping the premises found Thimmappa’s body near the Buddha Bhavan block, which is adjacent to the block in which the deceased was  staying. “We suspect he might have jumped from the fourth floor of the block,” Pushpan Kumar said.

Police said they are yet to question other inmates of the campus, his friends and family members to ascertain the reasons for the suicide. “The family members are yet to arrive in the city,”  the inspector said, adding they might throw more light on the reasons that led to Thimmappa’s suicide. 

Police said they would be verifying the call particulars of Thimmappa’s mobile phone to know more about his friends.
Police are trying to establish whether Thimmappa met any person after he left the campus on Wednesday.

The body was shifted to the Gandhi  General Hospital for autopsy which would be performed on Friday after Thimmappa’s parents arrive.  Police said a case was registered under Section 174 (suspicious death) and investigation is on. 

278 - To Die For - Indian Express

Sreenivas Janyala : New Delhi, Sat Feb 09 2013, 21:50 hrs

Why "love failure" stalks the young men and women of Hyderabad

On January 23, a 24-year-old postgraduate student Kiran Kumar hanged himself in his hostel room in Barkatpura, Hyderabad. His friends told the police that he had been preparing for competitive exams. But the trigger, apparently, was not academic pressure. He had fallen in love with a girl. When his overtures were rejected, he locked himself in his room for a couple of days. The body was found soon after. He did not leave a suicide note.

A research scholar at BITS Pilani in the city, T Manjushetty, had a crush on a girl who was his junior. When she married another man last year, he was heartbroken. On the day the newly-married girl resumed classes, he jumped to death from the third floor of his hostel building.

"Love failure" is a silent malaise stalking young men and women in Andhra Pradesh, with several instances of techies, engineering students and research scholars, succumbing to the despair that follows a setback in love or courtship. The police say that unrequited love is the most probable trigger in the many suicide cases that they encounter. 

"In 2011, there were 15,077 suicides in Andhra Pradesh, of which nearly half were related to disappointments in love,'' an official of the Central Crime Station in the city said. Authorities say that Andhra Pradesh is next only to Tamil Nadu in what they call "love failure suicides".

Many of these luckless romantics do not leave suicide notes in order to protect their beloveds from trouble—both legal and familial. If their decision follows a break-up, they ensure that tell-tale text messages, phone numbers and emails are deleted before they take the extreme step. It is only through friends that the police come to know. Some even keep their one-sided romances a secret from their friends. A few leave hints.

"I am heartbroken because of failed love. I will not bother you again, my dear,'' said the suicide note of Naresh Reddy, a PhD student of University of Hyderabad who swallowed poison in his hostel last January.

Police officials say that it is usually a combination of poor academic performance, unemployment or family problems with a failed romance that drive youths towards suicide. "Failure in love is often the last straw. We have seen cases in which students confided to their friends that they were worried about their studies but committed suicide when their lovers rejected them. Many of these youngsters get involved so obsessively or become so possessive that they are unable to take a no. A rejection takes on the meaning of failure in life,'' an official said.
Telugu cinema and popular culture shapes ideas of young men as obsessive romantics, who will not accept a no. "Telugu movies show the hero doing things so brazenly — aggressively accosting women at bus stops or on trains, in front of classmates, hugging them, teasing them with dialogues that have double meaning and often threatening to kill himself — all to win the heart of the heroine," says Andhra Pradesh Mahila Sangham's leader PA Devi. She also links this to the fact that the state leads in violent attacks, including acid attacks, on girls and women who spurn love-struck youths.

In Hyderabad's colleges and cafes, young men and women out on dates cheerfully distance themselves from such zeal. 

Srivinodh Raju, a student of AV Arts College, says he has been "fielding" outside two tuition classes and one college because he is in love with three different girls. "I may not be lucky with even one. But it is OK, I will move on. Only one among the hundreds and thousands who are in love commits suicide," he says. "One-sided love affairs are also so common but of the thousands of students, one or two fail to accept the reality of life.''

There is also a growing band of young people who fall in love on the internet, without meeting their sweethearts. Some men are known to have deposited money so that "she" could travel to meet him. The outcome is predictable. MCA graduate N Narasimha Reddy of Guntur, who was living in Hyderabad, chatted for hours online every night with a woman from Nalgonda. His friends in Hyderabad told the police that he had never met her but fell deeply in love. When his marriage proposal was rejected, he went into depression. He hanged himself in his friend's room. Police found the printout of a girl's photo but suspect that it is not her real image.

The CID department of the Andhra Pradesh police received over a dozen complaints last year from heart-broken women whose "lovers" turned out to be online fraudsters. In one instance, a 23-year-old woman, who was an MBA, fell madly in love with a man after seeing his photos on a social networking site. They decided to get married right away. But when she suggested they meet, he cited a kidney ailment and family hardships, and requested for her help. The love-struck girl borrowed over Rs 10 lakh and deposited it in his account. She realised the fraud eight months later. Police arrested her lover who turned out to be a dwarf with a fake profile on social networking sites.

Even among the heart-broken, there is a gender divide. There are no statistics to support it but officials say that more men commit suicide over "love failure" than women. "A girl committing suicide over an affair is still considered a major embarrassment to the family. So the jilted girls just carry on in turmoil so as not to bring shame and dishonour to their family. In the few cases of suicide, they give such bizarre reasons as an unbearable stomach ache, which is the most common reason found in suicide notes, or poor academic performance,'' says Inspector E Srinivas of the Central Crime Station.

A corollary of obsessive love is violence and there have been cases of men attacking women who spurned them. Last September, two engineering students from Hyderabad were killed in Guntur when the motorcycle they were riding rammed into a bus. It soon became clear that this was not an accident. A suicide note was recovered from the young man, M Saidu Babu Kumar's shirt pocket. Guntur Rural Inspector M Paul recollects: 

"It appears that his girlfriend S Krishnaja broke up with him a couple of days ago. Kumar plotted his girlfriend's murder when she told him that she had fallen in love with his friend and they had been going around even while she kept up the façade that she was in love with Kumar." His suicide note said that he could not accept the treachery of someone he loved so much and he decided to kill her and commit suicide. It would be, he had told her, their last ride together

277 - BITS Pilani student commits suicide - New Indian Express

By Express News Service
Published: 22nd July 2011 03:02 AM

HYDERABAD: A PhD student of BITS Pilani reportedly committed suicide by jumping to death from atop a building on the campus on Thursday. The reasons for the extreme step are not yet known. Preliminary investigation led the police to believe that it could be a case of a failed love affair.

Thimmappa Manjushetty, 30, was staying in room no 116 of Gandhi Bhavan block on the BITS Pilani campus in Jawaharnagar mandal outskirts under the Alwal police station limits.

Thimmappa, a native of Karnataka, was pursuing his PhD in pharmacy and joined the institute in 2008. He was on the verge of completing his PhD in the next couple of months.  

According to Alwal police inspector J Pushpan Kumar, Thimmappa went out of the campus on Wednesday and returned at night. He did not reportedly speak to any of the other students and went inside his room. “Many of the hosteliers left to their respective places as it was vacation.

There were just a couple of students staying on the campus,” Pushpan Kumar said. Only a couple of students were in the hostel in the first floor of the block. On Thursday, workers sweeping the premises found Thimmappa’s body near the Buddha Bhavan block, which is adjacent to the block in which the deceased was  staying. “We suspect he might have jumped from the fourth floor of the block,” Pushpan Kumar said.

Police said they are yet to question other inmates of the campus, his friends and family members to ascertain the reasons for the suicide. “The family members are yet to arrive in the city,”  the inspector said, adding they might throw more light on the reasons that led to Thimmappa’s suicide.
Police said they would be verifying the call particulars of Thimmappa’s mobile phone to know more about his friends.
Police are trying to establish whether Thimmappa met any person after he left the campus on Wednesday.

The body was shifted to the Gandhi  General Hospital for autopsy which would be performed on Friday after Thimmappa’s parents arrive.  Police said a case was registered under Section 174 (suspicious death) and investigation is on.

276 - Jilted, two youths commit suicide - The Hindu

HYDERABAD, October 4, 2013
Updated: October 4, 2013 01:11 IST

One of them was a student of BITS Pilani and the other, a civil services aspirant

Their love proposals spurned, two 25-year-olds – a civil services aspirant and a BITS Pilani student – committed suicide in separate incidents in the city on Wednesday.

A. Venu of Nellore, who had recently completed his B.Tech and was in the city to prepare for the Civil Services examination, ended his life by hanging at his friend’s house in Srinivasa Nagar Colony under Jeedimetla police station limits.
Police said Venu had put up a Facebook post saying his girlfriend had been ignoring him, and that he was ending his life.

On noticing this, his friends immediately began calling Venu on his mobile phone but found no response. They then went to his room and broke open the window-grill, only to find him hanging, Jeedimetla Sub-Inspector M. Kranthi Kumar said.

In a similar incident, a third-year BITS Pilani student who attempted suicide by consuming poison in the college’s lab at Alwal on Monday, died while undergoing treatment in a corporate hospital at Secunderabad on Wednesday. Police said B. Arun, a native of Marrepally village in Kadapa district, had sent SMSes to his friends and posted content on Facebook indicating that he was taking the drastic step after his college-mate spurned his love, Alwal SI K. Narasimha said.

Police said bodies of the two students were handed over to the family members after a post-mortem at Gandhi Hospital.

275 - IIT Kanpur Student Commits Suicide—Third Suicide Case in IIT-Kanpur Since last December - Blog Ask IITians

IIT Kanpur Student Commits Suicide—Third Suicide Case in IIT-Kanpur Since last December
      2014-02-06      General Discussion

A B.Tech 3rd year student, Manjunath from IIT-Kanpur, committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan in his hostel room on Wednesday morning. A final year computer science student, Manjunath, hailed from Karnatka.

According to police reports, his body was recovered from his hostel Hall 5 after his classmates found him hanging from the ceiling fan.

“Friends of the deceased say that he was apparently under severe depression and stress,” confirmed Anand Prakash, Kalyanpur police station in-charge.

Manjunath is the third student in IIT-Kanpur since last December to have committed suicide owing to depression.

IIT-Kanpur authority is taking care of all the formalities involved. The family of the student has been informed.

This post was contributed by Monika Rai, askiitians expert

274 - Suicide Strikes Again in IIT-Roorkee after 2 Years—Death Toll Rises to 4 in IITs since December - Blog Ask IITians

Suicide Strikes Again in IIT-Roorkee after 2 Years—Death Toll Rises to 4 in IITs since December
askIITians       2014-02-13      

Udai Biradare, a second year M.Tech student from IIT-Roorkee, ended his life at the campus by hanging himself with a rope from the ceiling fan of his room on Wednesday morning.
He belonged to Latur district in Maharashtra.

The death toll of suicides in IITs has risen to 4 since December, 2013, which has once again highlighted the issues of students dealing with severe depression and stress in a rigorous environment created in IITs.

Udai Biradare was found dead in his room DG 8 of Cautley Bhawan hostel of the institution in the morning by his friends. Police also recovered a suicide note written in Marathi addressed to his parents beneath his laptop.

“The police were informed on Wednesday morning about the incident. The door was broken after we found it bolted from inside. The body has been sent for postmortem,” Sub-inspector Subhash said.

“Once we receive the postmortem report, we can ascertain the exact time of the suicide. Prima facie, it appears the suicide was committed in the wee hours of the morning,” he added.
IIT-Roorkee’s authority refused to comment anything on the incident.

The last case of suicide committed by a student at IIT-Roorkee was reported on February 6th, 2011. Manish Kumar, a third year B. Tech student, had ended his life by jumping from the 5th floor of the hostel building.

This post was contributed by Monika Rai, askiitians expert

273 - IIT-Guwahati Joins IITs’ Suicide Club - Blog Ask IITians

askIITians       2014-03-12      

Students of IIT-Guwahati woke up to tragic news on Tuesday in the campus. Its 22 year old student, S.M. Shohaib, committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan at around 7.30 am in the morning.

S.M. Shohaib hailed from Bhabla in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. He was a bright second year postgraduate student in Mathematics.

According to public relations authority of IIT-Guwahati, S.M. Shohaib was first spotted hanging in his room 204, on the second floor of Dibang Hostel, by his friends who came knocking to ask him to come with them for the class.

The door of his room was not locked from inside.
IIT-Guwahati authority got to know about this tragic event at around 8.00 am after half an hour of the incident.

“It appears to be a case of suicide. We didn’t see any signs of foul play. The laceration mark on Shoaib’s neck was oblique as opposed to a round mark that is normally seen when a person is killed,” said Siddhi Kumar Barua, the investigating officer and deputy superintendent of police, Jalukbari.
“Some other body fluids were found on Shoaib’s body,” said Jatin Bora, magistrate and circle officer (Kamrup).

The body of the student has already been sent for post-mortem to the GMCH by police.

According to reports, S.M. Shohaib had been watching a movie—Black Friday—with his friends till midnight in room 201.
S.M. Shohaib had joined IIT-Guwahati last year in July.

Friends of S.M. Shohaib in the campus said that he was suffering from severe depression for past couple of months. He was also undergoing treatment and was on medication.
His friends believe that it is not possible for the campus administration to keep a track of every student’s mental condition. However, the campus has a standard health center with doctors round the clock.

With a string of suicides in the past at IITs, no IIT institution till now has made it mandatory to check mental health of a student entering the campus. However, IITs check physical health of students.

“He was fine and never told us anything about it. He had called home three days ago and told our mother that he would come home on March 10. He later called to say that he had to cancel the trip because he had to attend extra classes,” Shamim, Shohaib’s elder brother said.

Shohaib was the second of four siblings. Bachelors in Mathematics from Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission College with a first class degree, he had scored over 80 percent in his school boards.

This post was published by Rakesh Singh, The product head at askIITians and an IIT- Delhi and IIM-Kozhikode alumni.

272 - Why BITS Pilani Does Not Have a Suicide Club like IITs? - Blog Ask IITians

askIITians       2014-03-14


The debate over supremacy between India’s two hallowed engineering institutions, BITS Pilani and IITs, is reaching to a real controversial chapter with critics finally delving into the subject they have avoided till now—suicides.

The recent news of an IIT-Guwahati student, S.M. Shohaib, ending his life under mysterious circumstances has sparked outrage in the country over IITs inability to deal with situations that lead students to take such an extreme step.

On the other hand, BITS Pilani sports a squeaky-clean image with fewer suicide cases than IITs. But the real question is—how? Especially when they are both brutal famous engineering institutions churning out the world’s best engineers. They are both teaching the same damn subjects! Why are students at peace in BITS Pilani?

Engineering aspirants who wish to join BITS-Pilani someday believe that the campus offers flexibility in education. Students are almost free to pursue anything in the campus. This engineering institution believes in giving opportunities to students and makes explore them with deep insightful strategies.

Students have flexibility to choose their subjects of choice as electives along with their main subjects. All of it keeps students at peace at BITS-Pilani campuses. There’s no way one can get depressed or feel mentally exploited by campus administration.

Single rooms and no attendance are two quite unique features only introduced by BITS-Pilani. That means students who are not comfortable sharing their rooms with other students can live in a single room facility. This not only gives them a sense of privacy, but also helps them concentrate deeply on their studies. Living with others in engineering institutions has as many benefits as drawbacks.

No attendance policy of BITS Pilani is its most talked-about feature. Students don’t have to attend boring classes just for the heck of it. BITS-Pilani don’t force its students to attend classes that they don’t want to. Of course, this does not happen in IITs. Students are required to maintain a good attendance rate in IITs, which many students believe takes toll in their lives at one point or another.

All right! Shortage of quality faculty in IITs was big news recently. All IITs are still grappling to deal with this situation. Shortage of quality faculty affects overall education system of just any institution. Depression among students has been closely linked to shortage of quality teaching staff according to many studies.

However, BITS Pilani has some of the world’s best teaching staff. They not only teach students, but also give their valuable guidance whenever they need. They understand them. Many decisions in the campus are taken by teachers and students mutually. So there is no point of students getting stressed over anything. BITS Pilani understands the role of right education in students’ life but does not feed it to them blindly. BITS Pilani believes in making teaching creative and smart.

According to reports, suicide rates in IITs increase by 18% every year. This clearly shows that the entire education system in IITs needs an immediate reform. Although both institutions teach the same thing to students, the difference between their ways of teaching changes the entire game.

This post was published by Nishant Sinha, co-founder of askIITians.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

271 - IITian’s death shrouds in mystery - Assam Times

Submitted by AT News on Wed, 10/12/2014 - 20:04

The recent death of Tussar Yadav inside IIT-Guwahati campus seems to have shrouded in mystery. The IITian’s parents have alleged it a murder case and that they are unhappy with the police investigation which has yet to ascertain the real circumstances where the Gurgaon student died on September 14.  

In an appeal sent to Assam Times, his parents rued that only a CBI probe would be able to unearth the truth.  They further alleged that the suicide note handed over to them bears no mention of date and signature whereas the IIT-G authorities have cited depression quoting the note "Hi mummy papa this is Tushar, I want to tell you about my story. I was in full depression over 2 months. It is worst".

 “This is the only document taken as proof of depression by the IIT authority.  Therefore, it creates a doubt in our minds as to who directed whom to search for the said note and under what circumstances.

Moreover the handwriting of the note and the handwriting of Tushar do not seem to match at all. The same needs to be investigated by the competent authorities,” alleged Tushar’s parents.  

 They find it utter surprising that there was no open injury, abrasion, contusion even after a fall from the height of more than 40 feet.  The post-mortem report merely states the cause of death to be “death due to damage to back bone”. The position and condition of his  body does not indicate as if he had jumped off from a height of 40 feet!

They rued that these circumstance suggest that this is not a case of suicide as it was maintained by Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati but there is something more sinister which has been brewing up at the Guwahati campus. 

- See more at: http://www.assamtimes.org/node/12540#sthash.8vc4c1eR.dpuf

Friday, November 7, 2014

270 - Death by design - Hindu Businessline

Public conversations about death have always been crowd-pullers. In the last few weeks though, the tone and tenor of these conversations have changed

Death, it seems, is ‘trending’ right now. Perhaps it is the times we live in, bereft of irony and filled only with the certainty of entitlement, one that makes the application of a freshly-minted verb to a timeless eventuality not just acceptable, but even appropriate. Public conversations about death have always been crowd-pullers, but in the last couple of decades, eager as we have been to live on, consume on and get a bucket list of activities and achievements accomplished, they have largely been limited to who and how. These reports — of suicidal IIT students or adventure seekers swept away by a suddenly swollen river — have mainly been consumed with morbid fascination, fuelled only by the relief that it happened to someone else, when it could so easily have been oneself. 

Suddenly, in the last few weeks though, the tone and tenor of public conversations about death have changed.

The first jolt was when it popped up on our Facebook walls. It seemed jarring that in an ecosystem built around preserving the photo of every moment of our existence and every random thought that pops up in our head, a 29-year-old was talking about death. If you have been a user of the internet in the last few weeks, it is likely that you too stumbled upon the story of Brittany Maynard. At 29, Maynard is too young to die. She is also, as some commentators have pointed out, too pretty to die. 

Both of which are the reasons why her story has gone viral. In January this year, Maynard’s headaches were diagnosed as a malignant brain tumour. She was given five to 10 years to live. But in April, further tests confirmed that she was at stage four of the cancer and that her health was likely to deteriorate drastically. She had only about six months of quality life ahead of her.

Maynard immediately took control of her death. She moved to the state of Oregon, where she is allowed to legally choose her death; established a new home; got a new driving licence as well as access to medication that would help her die. Then she went about trying to finish as many things on her bucket list as she could. All the while, she continues to campaign for more states to pass laws that would allow the terminally ill to die with dignity. If she sticks to her plan, then today, November 1, 2014, would be her last.

Confronting mortality
Shocking as Maynard’s decision is, determining the point at which life becomes untenable is something the medical community is just about starting to think over. In his latest book, Being Mortal, Atul Gawande, who is a general and endocrine surgeon in Boston, US, says that the medical profession’s focus on keeping patients alive at any cost is counterintuitive. “I learned about a lot of things in medical school,” Gawande starts his book, “but mortality wasn’t one of them. Our textbooks had almost nothing on ageing or frailty or dying. How the process unfolds, how people experience the end of their lives, and how it affects those around them seemed beside the point. The way we saw it, the way our professors saw it, the purpose of medical schooling was to teach how to save lives, not how to tend to their demise.”

Yet, demise is inevitable. And even though we are the only species to be aware of this inevitability, we are often the ones least prepared to deal with it. Through case studies, research and anecdotes, Gawande proposes a radically different approach to looking at death — by assessing how one wants to live. Patients must ask themselves what is important to them — the ability to be mobile, or use the bathrooms themselves, to be conscious, to be able to talk, to attend a wedding over the weekend, to see a child who is on his way back from a place far away — and then decide if the risks of the medical procedure are worth giving up any of these goals.

It isn’t, of course, as easy as it sounds. Ageing itself is a slow process of losing control over things that matter. As more and more decisions of what is important to you are handed over to other people — spouses, children — it becomes increasingly hard to decide on a goal, much less prioritise it. The process of caring for geriatrics is intrinsically one that infantilises them. Gawande sits in with a doctor at the geriatrics clinic of the hospital he works in. After going through the list of problems and the medications the patient was taking, the doctor embarks on a close examination of the feet of the patient. The biggest risk that the elderly face is that of falling. In the US, of the 350,000 people who fall and break their hip every year, 40 per cent end up in a nursing home and 20 per cent are never able to walk again. Even if a patient seems fine for their age and the number of medical conditions they have, the feet often tell a different story. The patient who was examined while Gawande was sitting in, came in well dressed and looked like she maintained herself very well. Yet, her feet were swollen. The toenails were unclipped. There were sores between her toes and the balls of the feet had thick, rounded calluses. The most significant advice the doctor had for her was to direct her to a podiatrist once a month, so that her feet were better taken care of.

It isn’t just feet care. Like in babies, even something as basic and essential as swallowing is challenging for the elderly. Over time, the lordosis of the spine tips the head forward. In terms of the angle of the throat, looking ahead is akin to looking up. Choking is common. Older people have to be reminded to look down while eating, so that food can pass through the throat. It is then normal for family members and caregivers to assume that a person who isn’t capable of eating on her own is incapable of deciding on what kind of medical treatment is appropriate for them.

Home and away
Caring for the elderly is a particularly complex problem in the Indian context. Traditionally, the joint family system provided an in-house support system, with children, their spouses, and grandchildren pitching in — some happily and voluntarily, some grudgingly. As urban and semi-urban India moves rapidly into a system of nuclear families, caring for the elderly becomes an acute problem. They are often dragged across geographically and forcibly introduced to new and alien environments as it isn’t professionally possible to always insist on staying close to ageing parents. Depression is common among these geriatrics, as is a sense of uselessness and helplessness. The real estate market is the first to recognise senior citizens as a credible customer base. Townships fitted with medical and housekeeping help are increasingly coming up in suburban India. As large numbers of young Indians seek work outside the country, these become a relatively safe option for their parents.
While the number of assisted-living facilities is growing, the immense societal judgment of ‘abandoning one’s parents’ prevents the vast majority from opting for them. So people continue to care for the elderly even though they don’t often wish to. It isn’t surprising then that a survey by HelpAge India reported in June this year that 50 per cent of the elderly were abused in their home. This is up from 23 per cent last year. The survey covered 1,200 elderly in Tier I and Tier II Indian cities. Among Tier I cities, Bangalore reported 75 per cent of polled elders facing abuse, while Delhi reported 22 per cent. Verbal abuse (41 per cent), disrespect (33 per cent) and neglect (29 per cent) were ranked the most common types of abuse. Sons and daughters-in-law were the abusers and most elders said they suffered this because of emotional and economic dependence on the abuser. Despite the fact that Indians laud ‘family values’ in public, truth is in a large number of homes, the elderly are stripped of love, dignity and a desire to live.

Reason to live
In the US, hospice care is an increasingly attractive option, where patients are made comfortable, their pain is managed, but no new course of treatment is offered. On paper, hospice care, and assisted-living facilities for the aged, may seem like a sort of easing into death, a way of candy flossing the morbid. But it doesn’t have to be so. If done right, it is a way of finding new things to live for. Being Mortal tells the story of Bill Thomas, a 31-year-old physician who took charge of Chase Memorial Nursing home, an assisted-living facility with 80 disabled and elderly residents. The home was running well, but Thomas saw despair in every room. In a particularly inspired experiment, he managed to introduce two dogs, four cats and one hundred birds into the facility. It wasn’t without problems. But when the teething troubles were over, the results were evident. It changed the place around, bringing in birdsong and life to the residents’ lives.
Researchers studied the effects of this programme over two years, comparing a variety of measures for Chase’s residents with those of residents at a nearby nursing home. The study found that the number of prescriptions required in Chase fell to half that of the control nursing home. Psychotropic drugs for agitation decreased in particular. The total drug costs fell to just 38 per cent of the comparison facility. Death fell 15 per cent. The study couldn’t say why. But Thomas thought he could — “I believe that the difference in death rates can be traced to the fundamental human need for a reason to live.”
Part of life
What then is a reason to live? When all ambition is exhausted and there is no energy to create more, perhaps that is the point when finding a reason to live becomes difficult. In a charming essay in The Guardian last month, legendary editor Diana Athill says the idea of death has never been alarming. The process of death is another matter. “Death is the inevitable end of an individual object’s existence — I don’t say “end of life” because it is a part of life. Everything begins, develops — if animal or vegetable, breeds — then fades away: everything, not just humans, animals, plants, but things which seem to us eternal, such as rocks. Mountains wear down from jagged peaks to flatness. Even planets decay. That natural process is death.”
In another much-shared essay in The Atlantic in September, Ezekiel Emanuel, the director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the National Institutes of Health, US, wrote why he wouldn’t want to live beyond 75. He wasn’t advocating euthanasia, merely listing the reasons why a life beyond that age holds no charm. It is the tail end of a productive life, creativity diminishes, activities are harder and less joyful and chances of active contribution to society are significantly reduced. “Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my healthcare will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either. Today, when the doctor recommends a test or treatment, especially one that will extend our lives, it becomes incumbent upon us to give a good reason why we don’t want it. The momentum of medicine and family means we will almost invariably get it,” Emanuel writes.
Although all of Emanuel’s arguments are well constructed and he provides data to prove most of his hypotheses, the comments on the essay are almost entirely written in a tone of outrage. Everyone, it seems, knows someone who is 80 or 90 and just as productive and creative as they have always been. These people may well exist. But their numbers are small, which is perhaps why the commentators themselves find them exceptional.
The arguments that detail the outrage though are more often spiritual than scientific. But then it is inevitable that people hide from death behind god. Despite centuries of medical advances and scientific progress, death remains, even today, the ultimate mystery. It can be viewed as a chasm to fall through, a lonely and frightening journey, or it could be viewed simply, as the end. Haemorrhaging after a miscarriage, Athill once nearly died. She writes, “I was not in the least alarmed as I dimly wondered if I had the strength left to think some suitable Last Thought, concluded that I hadn’t, and said to myself the words: ‘Oh well, if I die I die.’ I was sure, then, that nothingness was just that.”
(This article was published on October 31, 2014)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

269 - CCTV footage provides fresh twist in IIT-Delhi boy's death - TNN

Purusharth Aradhak, TNN | Oct 15, 2014, 01.57AM IST

NOIDA: With the recovery of a CCTV footage showing IIT-Delhi student, Anchal Bhardwaj, at the office of a private financial company that offers loan against mortgage of gold jewellery, police claimed to have made headway in the investigation of his death.

Bhardwaj's father had alleged that his son was killed by his cousin who suspected him of stealing gold jewellery from his apartment.

The cousin's family had later claimed to have recovered a jewellery box from Anchal's room, cops said. Anchal died after falling from his cousin's eighth-floor apartment on October 3. Police said they are yet to ascertain whether it was an accidental fall, a murder or an abetment to suicide.

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"During the investigation, we recovered CCTV footage of a private financial company in Noida which deals in giving loans against gold. The footage suggests Anchal had visited the company office," an officer said. Sources said Anchal had deposited some gold ornaments with the financial firm and sold the rest to friends. "We have seen the deceased in the CCTV footage. We have also questioned some of his friends who purchased gold from him," an officer said.

The cop added that while Anchal's cousins said he fell-off accidentally, his father Mahavir Bhardwaj alleged that the cousins, who suspected Anchal of stealing the jewellery, threatened to set his educational documents on fire if he did not admit to the crime and also pushed him to his death.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

268 - IIT boy's death: Cops don't rule out abetment - TNN

IIT boy's death: Cops don't rule out abetment
Purusharth Aradhak, TNN | Oct 8, 2014, 03.57AM IST

NOIDA: The father of the IIT-Delhi student who was found dead in an apartment complex in Noida last week was questioned by the police on Tuesday, a day after a murder case was filed on the basis of his complaint.

Mahavir Bhardwaj has alleged that his 21-year-old son, Anchal, didn't commit suicide but was murdered by his cousin and his family. Anchal died after he purportedly fell from his cousin's eighth floor flat in the housing complex in Sector 121 last Friday.

Even as police said they were also probing if Anchal was driven to suicide - he was accused of stealing jewellery belonging to his cousin's wife -investigations on Tuesday revealed another cousin of Anchal was also present in the flat the day he died. The other cousin and his wife had threatened to set Anchal's academic certificates on fire if he did not confess he had stolen the jewellery, Mahavir told the police. "The couple had also taken my son's laptop to their residence," he alleged.

The cousin's family has, meanwhile, told the police Anchal fell accidentally from the flat, senior superintendent of police Preetinder Singh said.

"If he was accused of theft, there is a possibility of mounting pressure on him, so this could also be an abetment to suicide case," SSP Preetinder Singh said.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

267 - IIT boy falls to death, dad cries murder - TNN

Purusharth Aradhak, TNN | Oct 6, 2014, 07.09AM IST

A student of IIT Delhi was found dead at a housing society in Noida’s Sector 121 after he fell from his cousin’s eighth-floor apartment.

NOIDA: A student of IIT Delhi was found dead at a housing society in Noida's Sector 121 after he fell from his cousin's eighth-floor apartment. The youth's father has filed a police complaint accusing the cousin and his family of murder. Police, however, are yet to file an FIR. 

Anchal Bhardwaj, 21, an MTech student, died on Friday evening. The incident came to light only on Sunday after his father lodged a complaint and police started a probe to examine the allegations before registering a case. 

Bhardwaj lived as a paying guest in Sector 22 and was visiting his cousin's resident at an apartment complex developed by the Ajnara group, according to his father. The cousin lives in the flat with his wife. 

Vishwajeet Srivastav, the deputy superintendent of police, said Bhardwaj's cousin visited his PG accommodation on Friday and invited him for lunch. "Later in the evening he fell from the eighth-floor apartment. He was taken to Fortis hospital but was declared dead on arrival," Srivastav added. The autopsy report, he said, suggested that the death was caused by the fall. 

"The Sector 58 police station in-charge is probing the case. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, we will decide our course of action," Srivastav said. 

In his complaint, Anchal's father Mahavir Bhardwaj says his nephew suspected his son of stealing jewellery from the apartment. "A few days ago, some jewellery of my nephew's wife was lost. They suspected it was Anchal. On Friday, when Anchal left his PG accommodation for Sector 121, his room was searched by them," Mahavir alleged, adding, "I suspect he was murdered and the crime scene dressed up to show it was a suicide." 

The police said the family of Bhardwaj's cousin claimed the jewellery box was recovered from Anchal's room. The Bhardwaj family hails from Uttar Pradesh and Anchal's father is a teacher in Haryana. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

266 - Treating the Root Causes of Suicide

30 September 2014 by Kimberly Wilkes in Newsletter 2014 

When beloved actor Robin Williams committed suicide, it sent shock waves throughout the entire world. Many of us wondered how a man who had such talent to make people laugh could harbor so much personal sadness and despair.

The truth of the matter is suicide isn’t a choice—it’s a symptom of a disease, namely depression. Although at first glance, depression seems as if it’s a mental problem, in reality there’s more to the story. In most cases, a physical cause is behind this mental illness. If you or a loved one suffer from depression, getting to the root of the possible physical cause or causes can make a world of difference—and possibly even save a life.

In this article, I’m going to show you how taking charge of certain aspects of your physical health—or that of your loved ones—can give mental health a big boost, too. But first, let’s take a look at some suicide facts and how to recognize whether someone you know may be thinking about ending it all. As you’re reading this article, keep in mind that depression is a serious illness and you should always work with your doctor in using any of the advice in this article.

The Far-Reaching Consequences of Suicide
If you know someone who committed suicide, you may ask yourself over and over if there was something you could have done to save your friend or family member. For some people, the grief of losing a loved one to suicide takes a more deadly turn.

A recent study showed that people who are grieving the suicide of a romantic partner and mothers of adult children who killed themselves are at a significantly higher risk of committing suicide compared with people grieving the sudden deaths of loved ones from other causes. In addition, children whose mother committed suicide are more likely to suffer from long-term depression.1

Even more sobering is the fact that suicide rates are rising among adults. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1999 and 2010, suicide increased by 28.4 percent in people ages 35 to 64.2  This means that more people die of suicide than in car accidents.

Signs to Watch For
According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, here are some signs a person you know and love may be considering suicide:3
  • Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
Who Is at Risk?
Anyone can suffer from depression and think about suicide. But there are groups of people who may have a particularly high risk. Anyone who has suffered childhood abuse may be at risk for depression and suicide.4 Veterans also have a high suicide rate, especially those who have returned from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.5

After a relationship breakup, men in particular are at an increased risk of suicide.6 Children and adolescents who have been bullied also are more vulnerable.7

Sadly, in the U.S., more than 6,000 senior citizens take their own lives every year.8 Because seniors tend to be more frail, most succeed on their first attempt to harm themselves.8 People who have chronic pain and people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs also are at higher risk of suicide.

The Suicide Gene
Scientists have uncovered a gene that is found more often in people contemplating suicide than in depressed people who don’t express a desire to harm themselves.9

Researchers examined the DNA of more than 400 people who had major depression. Approximately one-third of these people had attempted suicide. The researchers found that a connection between a variant of a gene called RGS2—which is involved in the activity of certain brain chemical receptors—and suicidal behavior.

The study authors found two copies of the variant linked to suicidal behavior in 43 percent of the suicidal patients. Less than 20 percent of these suicidal subjects had two copies of a variant that seemed to protect against suicide.

But just because it’s “in your genes” doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. If you’re depressed or know someone who is, it’s more important than ever to take care of the physical causes behind the depression and suicidal thoughts.

Physical Causes of Mental Illness
Let’s face it, if you’re depressed, the last thing you feel like doing is taking care of yourself.  It becomes a catch-22 problem.

You don’t feel like doing even some relatively simple things that can make a huge difference in your outlook on life. So you feel even worse—and are even less likely to eat right and take care of yourself. That’s where friends and family are important.
They can urge you to take care of yourself even when it’s the last thing in the world you feel like doing. If you’re depressed, ask your friends and family to help you begin to practice some of the suggestions below. And if you’re a loved one of someone who is contemplating suicide, help them take care of themselves by suggesting they follow the suggestions below. Once you start feeling better, you’ll be more likely to take charge of your own health.

The Thyroid Connection
A little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck could be what’s making you feel sad and depressed. When the thyroid gland becomes sluggish, it can trigger a number of symptoms, including depression.

Scientists have found many connections between the thyroid gland and mood. In rodent studies, levels of the mood-boosting brain chemical serotonin rise in the brain after treatment with the thyroid hormone T3.10 During hypothyroidism, the brain also produces less serotonin.10

In human studies, the connection between depression and hypothyroidism is strongest in people with low thyroid function who are taking the thyroid hormone thyroxine. In a study of 697 hypothyroid subjects being treated with thyroxine, the people who had higher levels of TSH and lower free T4 (markers of hypothyroidism) were the ones most likely to experience a drop in their sense of well-being.11

Ask your doctor to order a blood test to measure your thyroid hormone levels. Working with a nutritionally minded physician, you can also get your iodine levels tested. Iodine is important for your thyroid gland to work properly. If your levels are low, supplementing with a combination of iodine/iodide can help nourish your thyroid gland.

Get Your ZZZZs
Lack of sleep is one of the most important risk factors for depression. In fact, a recent study found that senior citizens who didn’t sleep well were more likely to die by suicide compared with seniors who usually had a good night’s sleep.12
The researchers looked at the sleep quality of 20 people who died of suicide. They then compared this to the sleep quality of 400 people whose cause of death was not suicide. The study subjects who suffered from poor sleep were 1.4 times more likely to die by suicide within 10 years than subjects who said they usually slept well.

Sleeping poorly was an even stronger predictor of suicide than depressive symptoms. And combining poor sleep with depressed mood most reliably predicted suicide risk.

This wasn’t the first study to show a link between sleep deprivation and suicide. After interviewing the relatives of suicide victims, researchers conducting an earlier study in Japan found that sleep disturbances occurred significantly more often in a group of people who had committed suicide (75.5 percent) compared to the controls (11 percent). This group of researchers also found that poor sleep was responsible for more suicide cases than mental disorders.13

If sleep is an issue for you, there are some simple things you can try. First, take melatonin, 3 to 10 mg per night. Melatonin is the sleep hormone. It’s produced in the pineal gland of your brain mostly at night. Melatonin levels fall as we age. They also drop if you’re exposed to light at night. Supplementation can help restore melatonin levels and may help you sleep better.
In addition, avoid watching any action-adventure movies before bedtime. And try to avoid looking at computer screens or cell phones for at least a couple hours before bed since they emit blue light, which lowers melatonin levels.

It’s also a good idea to avoid caffeinated beverages (such as coffee or soda) after 12:00 noon. It takes some people 12 hours to metabolize caffeine. Plus, sleep in a dark room to boost your body’s natural supply of melatonin.
If you can’t sleep because you’re stressed, then follow some of the stress-relief suggestions below.

Combat the Stress
Chronic stress is not a friend to your peace of mind. In fact, chronic stress is a risk factor for major depression. Constant or near-constant stress changes the production of the mood-boosting brain chemical serotonin. In addition, when your brain produces new neurons in the hippocampus, it creates an antidepressant effect. But when chronic stress blocks the production of new brain neurons, it blocks this effect,14  making you more susceptible to depression.

Meditation and yoga are two ways to relieve chronic stress. Exercise is also a stress-reducer—plus, it can relieve depression, too. (More on this later).

Your alternative-minded doctor can also order an Adrenal Function Panel, a salivary hormone test that measures your cortisol levels. After you’ve been stressed for a long time, your cortisol levels can plummet, causing adrenal burnout. When this happens, your adrenal glands can no longer produce cortisol, leaving you feeling drained.

If the test results show your adrenals are exhausted, supplement with a combination of adrenal glandular and licorice root. Licorice can block the enzyme responsible for inactivating cortisol, causing cortisol levels to rise.15

Does Your Birth Month Put You at Greater Risk?
Scientists have found that being born during the summer may predispose schizophrenic persons to suicide.16 So why would season of birth matter? Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. For people who are born in summer, the first two trimesters of their mother’s pregnancy are in late fall and winter, when vitamin D levels drop.
Similarly, in many countries, suicide rates are highest in spring, when vitamin D levels are lowest. In the winter, some people also develop a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression. Some research suggests low vitamin D levels may play a role in SAD.17

What’s more, low vitamin D levels are linked to suicide. Researchers studied blood samples of 495 U.S. military members who had committed suicide sometime in the last 24 months and compared them to samples from 495 controls. The service men and women who had committed suicide tended to have the lowest vitamin D levels.18

Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your vitamin D levels. Ideally, you want your vitamin D levels to hover between 50 ng/mL and 75 ng/mL all year long, even in winter. Supplement with 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, depending on the results of your blood test.

Mood Enhancers from the Sea
Many studies have found a link between low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and depression. What’s more, adult, depressed suicide victims have lower levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) compared with controls.19
One group of researchers investigated suicide deaths among active duty military and found that higher levels of DHA protected against suicide.20 Another group of researchers examined the medical literature and found that the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) acts as an antidepressant.21

Aim for 1 to 2 grams per day of a supplement containing both DHA and EPA, as this is the amount successfully used in studies of depression.

Your Diet and Depression
Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are two of the biggest offenders when it comes to mood-destroying foods. In one study of 23,976 adolescents in China, researchers investigated intake of soft drinks and sweet food consumption and suicidal behavior. Among the 12 to 19-year-olds studied, 20.5 percent reported that they drank soft drinks daily.

The adolescents who drank soft drinks were more likely to have a suicidal plan or have attempted suicide. Compared to the adolescents who drank soft drinks less than once per day, those who drank these beverages at least three times per day had an 80 percent increased risk for suicidal plans and were more than 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide. Eating lots of sweet foods also was linked to an increased risk of suicidal behaviors.22

One thing you don’t have to give up is coffee, at least not in the morning. Harvard scientists found that drinking two to three cups of coffee daily is linked to a 45 percent reduced risk of suicide.23 The caffeine in coffee increases levels of brain chemicals like serotonin, making it a mild natural antidepressant. (Just don’t drink it in the afternoon or evening!)
It’s not only what you eat—it’s also what you don’t eat. If you’re not getting enough nutrients in your diet, it may leave you vulnerable to depression. One study showed that there’s an association between intakes of linoleic acid, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium and zinc and better mental health.24 So load up on veggies and fruit, and take a good multivitamin, too.

The More You Move, The Better Your Mood
A large number of studies show exercise can reduce the symptoms of major depression and anxiety disorders. Depressed people who exercise have been able to reduce their antidepressant dosages.25 In addition, physical activity can reduce the depression that occurs in Alzheimer’s patients.25
In one study, exercise worked as well as an antidepressant drug in reducing depression symptoms, but the effects of the antidepressant drug kicked in faster, and the exercise took longer to work. After 16 weeks, however, both the antidepressant drug and exercise worked equally well.26

Don’t Go It Alone
Talk to a friend or family member who can help you get motivated to put the advice in this article into practice. Your mental suffering may be caused by a number of physical problems such as specific nutrient deficiencies.

There are easy ways to address these physical problems such as supplementing with vitamin D3, omega-3 fatty acids and a good multivitamin, exercising, addressing thyroid issues, cutting sugar and soft drinks from your diet, practicing stress-reduction techniques and finding ways to get rid of your insomnia such as supplementing with melatonin. Once you take care of these physical problems, you’ll likely have a whole new outlook on life.
Finally, if you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, where you will be connected to a helpful voice at your local or regional suicide lifeline.


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