Administration organizes counseling sessions
A teenager at a well-established school in Karachi died by suicide over the weekend, sending shockwaves through the community of parents, teachers and students and renewing the conversation about causes and bullying.
The class 11 student, who will not be named in this story to protect the identity of the family, is believed to have overdosed. The school’s administrator said in a message to parents:
“I have had a talk with our Class XI students and gave them an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings regarding […]. We also spoke about the importance of acknowledging and sharing our feeling when we are depressed. That could ideally be with a family member, teacher, or friend; anyone they trust and are comfortable with.”
The school has a professional therapist who will be addressing the suicide. Parents were encouraged to tell their children that they should reach out if they are “facing adversity or experiencing strong feelings of stress or sadness”.
The young student had appeared “happy go lucky” and so far none of the teachers, friends or family have said they had any idea as to what led to the student taking their life.
It is being suspected that the student was subjected to bullying. Bullying is rampant in schools, in Pakistan and abroad. However, parents are not always equipped to spot the signs and schools are not always aware enough of the severity of the problem on campus.
Studies have shown that it is at a peak for the 12 to 14 year age group. Some parents think the answer is that their child should “toughen” up. Others who may bring up a culture of bullying at school receive a poor response from the administration.
Here is a more in-depth look at the phenomenon, the impact on mental health and ways in which it can be handled:
Here’s what you should do if someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:
• Do not leave the person alone.
• Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
• Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
[Must read: Who is at the highest suicide risk in Pakistan?]
• You can get in touch with the following mental health helplines and speak to them.