Recently, a funeral home based in North Toronto hosted a gathering where a large number of people had come to offer their condolences and mourn for a young student from India who had passed away because of committing suicide. In the last one month, this was the sixth instance of a young international student committing suicide and being mourned for in this funeral home.
To say their final goodbyes, more than 30 people had gathered at the funeral home during the evening. Later, arrangements were made for his body to be transported to Dherdu, a small village located in the Indian state of Haryana where his parents live.
What leads International Students in Canada to take this extreme step
Prince, who was 21 years old and didn’t have a surname, was last seen by his housemates sometime on November 8. All his housemates were international students just like Prince and lived together in a home in Brampton. When Prince didn’t return home for long, his housemates informed the police. The police started looking for him and soon enough, found his body around a beach closer to Bluffer’s Park in Scarborough.
One of his housemates stated that they are still “confused” about Prince taking the step to end his life as according to them, there was no reason for him to contemplate suicide.
According to reports, close to 4,000 people commit suicide in Canada every year. However, there is no statistical report or data that gives one an idea about the number of international students take this step.
An Indian Origin man takes initiative to help disturbed people to take this extreme step
Kamal Bhardwaj runs two funeral homes in Canada not every international student death has been a case of suicide but many of them are. Kamal states that he comes across the dead bodies of 4-6 international students every year. He was extremely disturbed to see many young people giving up on their lives and this prompted him to delve deeper into the reasons behind international students committing suicide. A large number of international students who have committed suicide in the last couple of years happen to be from India.
Kamal decided to do something to stop international students from committing suicide. He visited the Punjabi Community Health Services based in Brampton and there, he met Anupma Cvejic, who served as its President till recently.
Cvejic appreciated Kamal’s initiative to prevent suicide and decided to help him in this regard. The two of them found further support in a volunteer named Irwin Rego. Together, they started doing research on the reasons behind international students committing suicide and the ways in which one could change their mind.
With the help of focus groups, the three of them organized a bunch of forums in which they spoke about the things that become a cause of worry or stress for international students and how they can deal with it. From facing financial constraints to not being able to perform well in studies, international students get stressed because of a variety of reasons.
Along with friends and fellow volunteers, Kamal is working diligently towards ensuring the success of his mission to help international students and preventing them from taking the drastic step of committing suicide.