Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Need for Manthan

The need for educational rehabilitation of children
The loss of a loved one and especially an earning member always deals a cruel blow to the kith and kin of the victim. Matters become worse for the impoverished and the marginalized sections of the society; the economic impact of the tragedy is compounded by the psychological impact on the traumatized family members. Very often, the children are left alone at home to fend for themselves. In the absence of proper care and timely attention to such children, myriad personal and social problems surface for them and they succumb to cycles of trauma, depression and loss of purpose in their early lives. Thus, it is crucial to constructively engage them and channelize their minds in the proper direction when tragedy strikes. In order to address this issue, undertaking the entire responsibility of these children, providing good quality education to them and nurturing them to be  responsible citizens could be a very effective solution.

The need for a long-term intervention

Over the last few years the drought crisis has become very acute. Factors such as deficient rainfall, lack of adequate supply of rainwater for irrigation, lack of water and fodder for the livestock, failed crops, bankruptcy or indebtedness arising due to inability of farmers to repay agricultural loans etc. exponentially deteriorates their economic condition. This leads to a lot of stress and emotional turmoil within their families. The mounting turmoil and anguish snowballs into the farmers' showing suicidal tendencies with several of them eventually committing suicide. Witnessing such a depressing scenario day in and day out, adversely impacts the psychology of the children therein. They too are likely to yield to trauma and depression, as proven by international research studies.
In Perspective
Suicide features among the top three causes of death among the youth worldwide. Young adults are a particularly vulnerable group and currently show the highest rates of suicide the world over. India ranks 11th out of 170 countries reported in 2012 (WHO suicide rates). Several factors come into play while we try and assess the causes behind suicides and suicidal tendencies in children and adults. Several events like early parental deprivation, recent bereavement and a family history of suicidal behaviour have been found to be very closely associated with precipitating suicidal tendencies in the offspring of the parents who have committed suicide. (Badrinarayana: A Study of suicidal risk factors in depressive illness, Indian J Psychiatry. 1980;22:81–3).

What global research says on child survivors of parental suicides
Worldwide research indicates that children of parents who have committed suicide are at the highest risk of attempting suicide themselves. 

A study led by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, May 2010 edition) that is believed to be the largest one to date on the subject, has revealed the following:
1) Those who lost a parent to suicide as children or teens were three times more likely to commit suicide than children and teenagers with living parents.
2) Those who lost parents to suicide were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized for depression as those with living parents.
3) Child survivors of parental suicide were at a particularly high risk of hospitalization for drug disorders and psychosis.
4) All offspring who experienced parental death, regardless of mode or age, were at increased risk for violent criminal convictions.

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