Published: 15th March 2023
IIT Madras student suicide: ChintaBAR expresses sorrow and calls for action on mental health
The fourth suicide in two years prompts ChintaBAR to criticise the IITM administration for lack of action on mental health and evasiveness in addressing the issue
Following the recent suicide of a student at IIT Madras, V Vaipu Pushpak Sree Sai, a BTech student was found dead in his hostel room in Alaknanda. ChintaBAR, a group of students at IIT Madras who participate in discussions on socially, economically and politically relevant issues, issued a statement expressing their sorrow.
The statement conveyed the sadness that has spread throughout the campus after this event, which occurred just one month after the death of Stephen Sunny, a research scholar from Maharashtra who reportedly died by suicide in his hostel room at IIT Madras. The notice also indicated that students can seek assistance in the event of any difficulties. It said, "We call upon the students to reach out to your friends and institutional mechanisms (Saathi, MiTr, Wellness Centre, Department level grievance committees) in case of any difficulties. Please feel free to reach out to ChintaBAR for any assistance. chintabar@smail.
According to the notice released by ChintaBAR, this is the fourth suicide the institute has seen within the last three years. Three of these were in the hostel room while the other one was at home. The notice stated, "When these incidents happened, the official mail from the institute never mentioned that the deaths happened by suicide. By not mentioning the term 'suicide' the institute administration is being evasive in addressing such a serious matter and taking a step back from resolving the academic/non-academic difficulties faced by the students."
In February 2019, the SLC requested an external committee to conduct a study into the ongoing suicides and mental health problems at IITM. Following a student suicide that same year, the previous Director pledged to address mental health concerns, yet no steps have been taken. According to the statement released by ChintaBAR, two more deaths have occurred and requests for updates on the mental health study have been unanswered.