On April 3, 2017, Arjun Bharadwaj, a 24-year-old management student, committed suicide by jumping out of a 19th-floor hotel room in Mumbai. Media reporting suggested he had been depressed about failure in exams and repeatedly talked about ending his life on social media. There were also suggestions he was battling drug addiction.
Bharadwaj’s story made the headlines–likely because he killed himself at a five-star hotel and discussed suicide methods on Facebook–but it is no exception: Every hour, one student commits suicide in India, according to 2015 data (the latest available) from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
In 2015, the number of student suicides stood at 8,934. In the five years leading to 2015, 39,775 students killed themselves. The number of attempted suicides, many unreported, is likely to be much higher.
India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to this 2012 Lancet report, which illustrated the need for urgent interventions for this demographic.
In 2015, Maharashtra reported most student suicides of any state: 1,230 of 8,934 (14%) nationwide, followed by Tamil Nadu (955) and Chhattisgarh (625). Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are among India’s most advanced states, and their high rate of suicides could reflect the pressures of economic growth.