Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 15: At least 140 teenagers killed themselves in Kerala for trivial reasons in the last six months, a study said, prompting the state Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to direct the Social Justice Department to examine the effectiveness of its suicide prevention measures.
In his direction to the Director of the department on Monday, SHRC chairman Antony Dominic sought a report on the initiatives taken to prevent suicide among youngsters.
"As per a complaint received by the panel, a study conducted by DISHA, an NGO, shows that at least 140 youngsters in the age group of 13 to 18 had committed suicide during the period of January 2020 to June 2020," a commission release said.
The study said that family disputes, troubled love affairs, failure in examinations, issues over mobile phones, two-wheelers were among the major reasons for the suicides.
"Thiruvananthapuram district has the highest number of suicides with 22 youngsters having taken the extreme step, followed by Malappuram with 20 suicides," the SHRC said.
The complaint said that the ineffectiveness of "village child protection councils" has resulted in the rising number of suicides among youngsters.
The release said the SHRC asked the Social Justice Department to review the effectiveness of the suicide prevention measures being taken up by it and sought a report.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had in July said instances of suicidal tendencies were being witnessed among children and termed it as an "extremely serious social issue".
"Since March 25, when the national lockdown was imposed, 66 children, below 18 years of age, have ended their lives due to various reasons," Mr Vijayan had said.
To help the children facing issues relating to mental pressures, "Chiri", a tele-counselling initiative was initiated by the government under its Our Responsibility to Children Programme (ORC), a planned community intervention that connects with Children and Young people between the age of 12 -18 years.
The health department had launched "Ottakalla Oppamund" (You are not alone, we are with you) programme to help children facing any kind of mental distress and to stop the suicidal tendencies among them.
A committee headed by Fire and Rescue Services DGP R Sreelekha had also been constituted to conduct a study on suicides among children in the state.