Depression in Young Adults

Only three days back on 17th, a 26-year-old postgraduate student of IIT, Mumbai died by suicide after jumping from the terrace of his hostel. He was purportedly battling depression. The police have recovered a note stating that nobody should be blamed for his action.

This reminds me of another student of Engineering at IIT, Kharagpur a few years ago, who was incidentally a son of my colleague. He and his wife were devastated. The boy was sober and intelligent. The reason for his suicide they couldn’t fathom.

The above incidents are just two examples of growing tendency of suicides among youngsters, and now among even teenagers. There may be sporadic moments of depression in the life of anybody including children, but these shouldn’t persist and take enormous proportions.

The reasons for taking extreme step may vary. A major trigger is competition in education and employment. The parents, relatives, teachers, private tutors, all put pressures in their own ways. The fear or inability to score high marks causes stress and guilt that severely affect physical, mental and emotional health.

Infatuation is another major issue. The adolescents easily fall for a GF or BF, and for some of them, the breakup is just unbearable. Parental discords, uncongenial situation, bullying, discrimination, cast slurs are other reasons.

Earlier too, I had stated that the adolescents moving from school to college are the most vulnerable lots. They treat the whole sky as their own, and any obstruction pinches them hard.

The most depressing fact is that depression among children is often not taken seriously, as we simply treat it as expression of anger or sullen mood.

Feeling low, emotional outbursts or even violence are natural outcomes. The warning signals include loneliness, social withdrawal, rebellious behaviour, substance abuse, neglect of personal hygiene and appearance, complaining nature etc.

To my mind, such a situation arises out of communication gap. There used to be an excellent rapport between grandparents and grandchildren, but now it’s rare. Meaningful interactions between parents and children, or even between husband and wife are lacking.

The best thing to do is to talk and talk, with empathy. Listen to them, hug them and encourage them to express their feelings. If children are in hostel, let’s make a point to meet them as frequently as possible and to have regular conversations with their close friends.

Don’t ask children to stand first, but to do their level best. All the achievers in the world are not necessarily top rankers. Comparisons kill their spirit and ego. Failures, if any, should be taken as stepping stone to success.

All may not become Einstein, but they certainly have the potential to become an equally renowned painter, dancer, musician, poet, author, doctor, engineer, economist and what not.

Let’s take care of our young adults as tender saplings and allow them to grow on their own, with mending, mentoring and support, whenever and wherever required.

–Kaushal Kishore

images: pixabay

57 Comments

  1. Pingback: 💥Peace & Truth
  2. The rise in suicide cases is truly concerning. The mental awareness campaign teams are going hard but individual effort is needed too.
    Nice pointing this out KK.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is a vitally important essay, KK. You are talking about a worldwide phenomenon, and the isolation caused be Covid has worsened this sad trend. The reasons are many; the losses to family and society are incalculable. People must be alert to the cries for help that suffering people often make.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well said, Annie! The situation has worsened to some extent due to Covid. Awareness is very much required to stop our young citizens from taking extreme steps. Thanks a lot for reading and sharing your beautiful reflections.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your essay, Kaushal, is of great importance because all children/teenagers belong to all of us, and if we don’t look after them, who will?
    I don’t want to impinge on your post but as I wrote about this myself, I would just like to add
    that any real action to bring up mentally strong, positive thinking adults have to start very earlier in the children’s life. Parents, primary school assemblies should talk about what a gift it is to be alive and be able to see the wonders of our planet, that there is ALWAYS a solution to any problem they might have. There should be mottoes on the walls like the witty one sent from Mars by the robot NASA placed there:
    “Perseverance will get you anywhere”.
    Thank you, Kaushal, and apology for taking so much space, and I agree with every word you have so eloquently written.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Joanna, you have very well explained the present situation and how to address it. Your tips have added value to what I have written. The point of school assemblies is well taken. Patience and perseverance are in fact the real mantras for all the stakeholders. Thank you so much for your value addition. Greatly appreciated!!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this post. I do worry about all children who may be suffering for what ever reason especially since Covid. So sad to hear about a young person taking their life and knowing that one has to be in a terrible place to end ones life. This is such a valuable and caring post. Thank you and beautifully done. Big hugs 🤗 much love to you and your family KK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s not the isolated case, Joni. The thing to worry is that number is increasing, and the main reason I think is the low EQ due to various societal factors. Thank you for appreciating the post and sharing your views. My best wishes to you and your family too 😊💐

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you think the lack of family support including extended family support, (anyone who is blessed with grandparents, uncles and aunts who are healthy, supportive and who care about you) are just overwhelmed with all the expectations? That this lack of support when you are not emotionally mature just becomes too much to bare? This makes a lot of sense to me and it is very sad that suicides are increasing with young people or anyone. I am so grateful my daughter is already grown, and not growing up now with all the impact that social media has today. Thank you for this enlightening and thoughtful post KK. 🤗❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  5. KK, very informative post on this important topic! Thank you so much for calling attention to this issue.

    I think young people are especially susceptible to depression because they lack the life experience that would teach them that both negative and positive experiences are part of life. Difficulties can be overcome. Affection can fade, but we can fall in love again. New opportunities may appear…

    Have a great weekend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Cheryl. Studies have found that some young people may score high IQ, but they are low in EQ. Emotional outburst and volatility in temperament are now common. Shootouts at schools or colleges by adolescents are burning examples. I think both family and school should give more attention to emotional demands of students. Who will know this better than you? Thank you for sharing your thoughts 😊💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. KK, I totally agree that more attention needs to be paid to issues of EQ of students. I think that we in the US are too focused on rules and punishment. When children act out, it may well be a call for help. There is a recent trend of making mindfulness and empathy part of the curriculum. I hope it catches on. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Depression among our youths is really a mind-boggling problem of the present day society the world over . You have done a nice socio-psychological analysis of the situation in a very vividly manner . Sir ! Tough competition is not only in the studies even after that . You might be reading now a days how youths even after getting a nice job are plunging into what is called suicide . You might have heard a story of a Netherland’s young pilot , while in Depression , caused to crash an aeroplane in the mountains perhaps of Alps or so . It is not a problem of today’s world , but it has its origin in history. Alexander came to India in the age of 23 years or so , and he wanted not only India but the entire world to win . But he failed . While going back he died in Alexandria in Egypt . I am not telling that he committed suicide . He was perhaps killed in a treachery . What I am talking such types of enthusiasm in younger age is simply hezardous . Historically speaking , when the Industrial Revolution came in the 18th century in England , a child asked his mother ” where is my PA ?” His mother reply was ,” He is in the factory —Ha , Ha , Ha .” So was the happiness in the society . General people were happy with the this Revolutionary approach of the mankind . But we didn’t stop there , we went ahead and more ahead and came a Revolution in science and technology . People became more enthusiastic . The West became the Haste . Everybody wanted to go to the West for a better future. But the situation worsen kinetically . Not because people are not getting job there , but because of general annoyance about working conditions , but because we are going far from our own existence i.e ours being human beings . Now lakhs and lakhs of people are leaving jobs in America to enjoy life outside the job-market—-near Sea Beach , in the forest , on hills and on mountains top . Sir ! Stephen Hawking was a crippled man , a great Scientist , a Noble Laureate , a prolific writer never thought of committing suicide at all in his entire life span . He died recently in an age of about 75 years . A deaf , dumb and an altogether crippled man lived in this world , why not our youths . Modern day suicide is the gift of our Colonial Civilizations which first engulfed our Country , then our society , and then our family system and still then our youths as such . Population growth with geometric progression has made our society complex . Have you ever heard youths are committing suicide in the AFRICAN countries ? Very rare . I had a friend from AFRICA , Issac Peter who was doing M.A ( Politics ) with me at the University of Bombay in the early eighties. We were in the Public Administration Group . And he failed twice in the final examination . I asked him the causes of his failure in the examination . He simply told me that he could not remember the Indian names at all and that was , to Him , the causes of his failure in the final examination as such . But he never thought of committing suicide . When he passed and went back to his country Nigeria he immediately got a job of perhaps a very high post in the Government of Nigeria . We must remember the words of Stephen Hawking that the mankind must search other planet in coming 75 years if it wants to survive for long . So , suicide is our creation Sir ! And we can’t control it until and unless : we control our Populations explosion , we preserve our environment and we would start thinking simply , living Simply , behaving simply etc. Thanks !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate you and your detailed explanation as to how we got into the present situation. I agree with what you have stated. Arbind, any history is replete with such facts and illustrations. We should learn lessons from them and go ahead with our own agenda, will and determination. Everybody can’t become Stephen Hawking or Alexander The Great. We have to find our own ways after doing a SWOT analysis. If a man has a purpose of his being, he will go on attempting despite failures. He will never think of getting depressed or stressed. And for this, the immediate family and school may play a critical role. Thank you, Arbind, once again for such an enlightening response!!

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  7. Such suicidal incidents are occurring every year from many colleges across India. One need to understand suicide is not the solution but unfortunately, such incidents happens… As rightly pointed, the reason can be depression, frustration, communication gap but at the same time, one should think once before taking such steps as the “void” created after suicide cannot be filled..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really a sad state of affairs. Family and societal pressures play a greater role for this mess. I agree with your views. Thank you.

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  8. I’d like to add to this article with the impact of undiagnosed and unacknowledged learning disabilities that create communication issues between parents and children as they grow into teenagers. This really can isolate a child and create relationship problems in the family that lead to isolation from the support of family during college years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, parents often don’t acknowledge such disabilities that in turn create a lot of problems related to communication and understanding. Thanks a lot for this value addition.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see this at times when teaching as my piano lessons are one on one. And it gives me a chance to get to know student families. Sometimes the disruption is worrying, and families with parents who are disciplinarians tend to fare the worst.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s also executive function disorder – link here in case any of your readers are interested in it – https://www.additudemag.com/what-is-executive-function-disorder/ This particular issue gets exaggerated when work pressure and long commutes go beyond a certain limit and is also to some extent a gender related issue in families where boys don’t do their share of chores. And an issue for all genders in families where all children don’t have small chores to teach them to balance their lives.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A sad reality of our times that you have shone the light on in a very focused way. Thank you Kaushal for this post, that reminds us or even wakes us up to a growing illness in our society, depression. It is definitely brought on by the more negative elements of our society, Pressure, stress, competition, bullying etc. This is a very important post.. thank you for focusing you light and bringing it to our attention. There are things, as parents, we can do and not do to help our youth!❤️🤗🙏🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Karima! I do agree with what you say. Low EQ in young adults aggravates the position. Disintegration of joint families and other pulls and pressures of the society, education and employment make the things more complex. In a dense population like ours, people feel lonely. All are busy with themselves. There is little hope left, unless parents themselves take care of their children in the way they deserve. 💖💐🙏

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