Parent-child relationship PARENTHOOD mental health awareness indian teenager teenager health and wellness indian family family expectations

Dear Indian Parents, Please Stop Pressuring Your Teenagers Before It's Too Late…

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

3 Idiots is one of the best Bollywood movies ever and I’m sure most Indians would have watched it at least once. 

The story of Farhan and Virus’ dead son depicted in the movie is a household reality in India. It also highlighted the fact that Mental health is a neglected issue in the country. It is a shame that mental issues are still considered a taboo and people don’t seek early help. 

My work in the Accident & Emergency department, apart from managing common medical and surgical emergencies also involves attending to a lot of patients with undiagnosed anxiety and depression, many of whom are teenagers. 

I have seen teenagers and young adults, depressed and suicidal due to parental pressure, who end up receiving Electro convulsive therapy (ECT) or Ketamine therapy when oral medications have failed.

The number of suicides among teenagers due to anxiety and depression is on the rise in India and it hurts me to read news of teenagers giving up on their lives every other day. So what can be a neglected cause? 

In India, it is common for parents to pressurise their children to opt for certain streams such as engineering or medical without taking into consideration their interests and aptitude. From there, the burden of living up to the parents’ expectations begins and the child begins to forget his own identity and gets lost. 

Over a period of time, it gets difficult for children to handle the stress suddenly thrown at them. These expectations become a mental stress for the child to cope up with, leading to anxiety, depression and unhappiness. Teenagers then feel isolated, thinking that nobody understands them, which can in most cases draw them completely away from their family and friends. 

The solution - ‘communication’. Parents need to watch for signs of stress in their kids and make an effort to talk to the child, their friends and also to teachers at school to know the cause. 

It is high time people realise that mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither is talking about it.

Following is a poem to spread awareness about thoughts which might be going in the mind of such a teenager coping with parental pressure. 

Kho gaya hun main kahin, 

Kitab ke kisi panne mein, 

Bhul gaya hun apna wajood, 

Ek acha beta banne mein. 

Unke sapne poore karne mein, 

Jalte angaron pe chalta hun, 

Jeene ki chah thi meri, 

Ghut ghut ke roz marta hun. 

Sochta hun chale jaun kahin, 

Jahan sirf mere sapne hon, 

Na ho koi umeed ka bojh, 

Tanha rahun, aur na koi apna ho. 

Ho sakta hai ek din unhe, 

Unki galti ka ehsaas ho jaye, 

Par jiss din khulegi unki aankh, 

Shayad khud ko hi khatam kar lun.

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