Listening to them best way to prevent suicide by youth, says study by Fergusson student

Swapnil Bhopi

A study by a post-graduate student of Fergusson College has underlined the fact that an intervention of active listening makes a significant and positive difference towards suicidal tendency among college students.

In his research, Swapnil Bhopi, a student from the psychology department, has highlighted that the easiest way to reduce the stress level in students is just to listen to them without passing any judgement.

During his study, Swapnil reached out to students of different local colleges using an 'adult suicidal ideation questionnaire (ASIQ)', considered a reliable psychological tool.

"Respondents were asked to respond to all 25 items on a seven-point scale and scoring was done accordingly. On the basis of this survey, 824 samples were collected, of which 107 were high on suicidal tendencies. Because of the very high risk, a few samples were rejected from the study," he told Newsline on Sunday.

Nearly 100 students with high ASIQ scores were divided into two groups later, with one group offered access to a helpline via telephonic conversation run by local NGO Connecting, among others, for a week. The thought process of respondents from both groups were evaluated using ASIQ after a week's time and final conclusions were drawn.

"The rising rate of suicide among the youth is a concern for the whole society. The reasons behind the youth taking such extreme steps vary, such as not getting enough attachment, love, care or freedom. But their emotional needs are somewhat similar. My study showed that active listening principles can lead to change in the thinking, attitude and suicidal behaviours of students who have suicidal tendency," said Swapnil, who had one of his best friends attempting suicide a few years back.

"I was unable to identify the suicidal symptoms that time in my friend. Fortunately, he survived, but that incident made a deep impact on me because he was not just a brilliant student but a good human being too. Youths like him should not take such extreme steps and that was the motive behind my study," he added.

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