Muneeb was hardly a 13 year old student of class seven committed suicide on a very small reason. According to media reports he hung himself from the ceiling fan on a teacher’s punishment of charging Rs.5 and pressurizing him to speak English during English class. Muneeb was living in the dorm which can only be afforded by rich families in Pakistan. This shows that he had no financial stresses from home. Was paying Rs. 5 even for a month wouldn’t be an issue for him?
According to media the last letter written by Muneeb was recovered in which he asked his mother not to cry for longer time on his death which is another investigative question that why did he only console his mother? He also requested his parents not to send his sisters to dorm; which shows that speaking English was not the biggest issue for him but he was facing some other issues in his dorm.
The World Bank published a report “Capitalizing on the Demographic Transition, Tackling Non-communicable Diseases in South Asia” in 2011, which showed an enormous rise in the suicide rate in Pakistan. The report quoted a shocking figure of 7,000 cases of suicide in 2008 and revealed that 10-16 per cent of Pakistanis suffer from mild to moderate psychiatric illnesses. The report further revealed that “Suicide rates have surged in recent years from a few hundred pre-1990s to almost 7,000 in 2008.”
Dr. Syed Rizvi, the chief of Psychiatry at Upper Chesapeake Medical center, Maryland said that the genetic factor, environmental factors and temperamental factor contribute to the predisposition of suicide among the children. He further explain that genetic factors could be any mental disorders that run in the family, environmental factors could be stress related factors in the household and or society, and temperamental factors are differences amongst attitude and emotionality.
While describing the children’s psychology he said that children respond differently to each situation they face in life. This is why we have different personalities even among twins. He said because of certain characteristic in their personalities they don’t develop well enough self esteem and they are sensitive to criticism and rejection. They require approval to feel good about themselves. They are hypersensitive to criticism and rejection. They feel easily rejected or dejected. When they feel that way they can only do two things; either they can externalize the anger by taking it out on the others or by being rebellious or breaking the rules. And sometimes they internalize the anger by feeling hopeless or helpless and by feeling that they are not good enough and should not live anymore. He further said that these types of feelings lead people to self harm which is more common and sometimes give to more serious life threatening consequences like suicide.
I think, the responsibility lies on parents and teachers collectively to keep an eye on their children and look for signs and symptoms of depression which is getting more common in children and young adults due to the stressful environment at home or in society and reasons could be financial, awareness to too much violence through media or news or growing terrorism in Pakistan.
Schools should have counseling system through teachers and teachers should also treat children individually because some of the teachers’ actions can be very damaging to the children who have fragile personalities. Schools should also bear the responsibility of observing the children for bullying and counselors should be there to do the on-spot screening of children who are suffering from bullying behaviors of other children. Proper psychiatric workshops should be held around the country to spread the awareness among the parents and teachers.
Children are our assets and we need to save them to secure our future and to raise the future leaders of Pakistan. A combine effort is needed in the society in which legislators who are busy fighting on court contempt and notices need to get involved in the real issues of the society.