101 university students died by suicide in 2021 amid COVID pandemic: report

As many as 101 students from public and private universities in Bangladesh died by suicide in 2021 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Aachol Foundation.

Experts believe depression tied to social, financial and family pressure, increased by the COVID-19 pandemic, is the key factor behind the suicides.

Among the victims, 65 were male and 36 were female, Aachol Foundation, a youth-led social organisation advocating for mental health in Bangladesh, said on Saturday. The results of the group’s survey, titled ‘Shocking Upsurge in Suicide Cases among University Students: The Liability of Stakeholders’, were detailed at a media briefing.

Out of 101 students, 62 of the victims were from public universities, which accounts 61.39 percent of the total count. Twenty-three, about 22.77 percent of the suicides, were of private university students.

There were 12 suicides among medical students, or about 11.88 percent, while the number was four among engineering students, about 3.96 percent of overall suicides.

The survey was conducted based on reports published by nearly 50 national and local newspapers. The researchers also interviewed the families of the victims as part of the study, said Farzana Akter Bithi, an executive member of Aachol Foundation.

“Female students generally have more suicidal tendencies, but suicides of male students nearly doubled that of their female peers last year. Last year also recorded the most annual deaths by suicide. Increased social, financial and family pressures were major factors contributing to male students’ suicides,” she said.