India Sees Highest Suicides In The World – 12.4 Per 1,00,000: National Data

NEW DELHI: Even as the latest suicide case of a father-son duo in Mumbai shocked us, experts on Thursday said that suicide is the largest public health crisis facing people, both young and old in India.

India has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of suicides in the world. According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released in April, 1.71 lakh people died by suicide in 2022 in India.

The suicide rate has increased to 12.4 per 1,00,000 — the highest rate ever recorded in India.

Health experts point out that the major reason is depression — a mental illness that in some can be genetic and can be induced by some kinds of stressors.

“The most common underlying reason for suicide is depression which in layman’s language we say stress otherwise it can be due to impulsiveness or other factors also, but the majority are because of depression,” Rajiv Mehta, Vice Chairperson, Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS.

The doctor noted that common stressors in life are related to work, finances, relationship issues, and health.

“These are the four common areas where the ups and downs in life can produce stress and slowly when stress becomes severe, it gets converted into anxiety and depression, which leads to suicide,” he explained.

Studies also indicate that about 50 to 90 per cent of individuals who die by suicide also suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

“Today, suicide is the largest public health crisis facing India. It is the leading cause of death among youth. Suicide can occur impulsively during periods of extreme stress, and those who are vulnerable may struggle to cope with such stressors as financial difficulties, medical conditions, or personal loss. Loneliness and isolation are also significant risk factors,” Shyam Bhat, Psychiatrist and Chairperson, LiveLoveLaugh, told IANS.

“The rising trend of suicide in India is quite concerning and calls for attention,” added Shambhavi Jaiman, Consultant Psychiatrist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.

In addition to mental health concerns or mental illnesses like depression, economic stress, unemployment, financial instability, huge amounts of debt for whatever reasons in their business, family conflicts, and marital discord all leading to hopelessness, are other contributing factors, the doctor told IANS.

Unfortunately, due to stigma and fear, discussions about suicide often happen in hushed tones, which only adds to its mystery.

Shyam called for offering genuine support without judgement or unsolicited advice to people in distress and helping them seek guidance.

“If you notice someone feeling depressed or down, encourage them. Offer support in helping them connect with a mental health professional who can provide perspective and guidance,” he said. (IANS)

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