A 14-year-old student of Vani Vidyalaya, Mulund (West), committed suicide by hanging himself the night before his unit test results were out. Shubham Arya, who was studying in the A division of class IX, was apparently scared that he would fare poorly in his exams, results of which were declared during the school’s Open Day on Saturday. It turned out that he passed in all subjects except two. He failed in Marathi and Social Studies by a couple of marks.
The police said Shubham lived with his parents and five-year-old brother in Veer Sambhaji Nagar on LBS Marg, Mulund (West). He left his house around 9pm on Friday night without informing his family. His father, who is employed with a private firm, had not returned home. Around 10pm, when the family was ready to have dinner, they realised Shubham was missing. The family inquired with the neighbours and looked for him everywhere, but was unable to trace him.
Around midnight, Shubham was found hanging on the ground floor of an under-construction SRA building nearby. “He had used his mother’s stole to hang himself. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but doctors declared him dead on arrival. No suicide note was found,” said a police officer from the Mulund police station.
In their statement to the police, Shubham’s parents said there was an Open Day in his school on Saturday in which the students were scheduled to get the results of the unit test which took place in January. His parents said though Shubham was quiet for a day, there was no sign of depression. The school said the incident was unfortunate. “His performance was not bad. In any case, he had another opportunity in the exams scheduled for March-April. Given his track record, he would have certainly cleared this exam as we have a system of special coaching. His death is most unfortunate. The school is 59 years old and is known for its academic performance and progressive management,” said school secretary V Ramakrishnan.
Though the exact motive behind Shubham’s suicide is yet to be ascertained, the police suspect it could have been his fear of being reprimanded by his parents thinking that he may have fared badly in his exams.
Experts said it is time parents start addressing issues relating to mental health. “The Right to Education Act, 2009, is applicable till class VIII, so students are a bit relaxed till then. But as soon as they enter class IX, schools pressurise and threaten to fail them in the quest to have a 100 per cent result in the board exams. Parents need to be alert during such times and must give as much attention to signs of depression as they would to treat fever,” said Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist at Hiranandani Hospital. Dr Shetty says the civic body should also create awareness about depression. “It is about time that the BMC takes mental health seriously. More people suffer from depression than malaria, so the civic body must try to create awareness about mental health as they do for malaria or polio,” he said. The Mulund police have registered a case of accidental death and are trying to ascertain what drove Shubham to take the drastic step.