Suicides are preventable

Each incident of suicide is a personal tragedy that not only prematurely and hastily takes the life of an individual,
Suicides are preventable

Each incident of suicide is a personal tragedy that not only prematurely and hastily takes the life of an individual, but also leaves a trail of more tragedies which in turn dramatically affect the lives of many other people including family members, friends and communities. As has been reported by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), every year on an average a little more than one lakh people commit suicide in our country. The figure for 2019 was 1,39,123. The various causes or motivations behind this alarmingly high number of suicides include professional and career problems, sense of isolation, abuse, violence, family problems, mental disorders, depression, failure in examinations and love, addiction to alcohol, financial loss, chronic pain etc. The latest 'Crimes in India' report prepared and released by the NCRB has revealed that there were altogether 2370 incidents of suicides in Assam during 2019. The figure for 2018 stood at 2379. According to the NCRB report, family problems were responsible for more than one-fourth (25.94%) suicides in Assam during 2019, which was followed by love affair (15.69%), property dispute (11.77%), marriage related issues (10.21%), unemployment (6.54%), illness (6.6%), failure in examination (4.3 per cent) and drug abuse or addiction (3.8%). What is most disturbing is that 67 per cent of those who had committed suicide in India during 2019 were young adults between the age of 18 and 45 years, the absolute figure standing at 93,061. When compared to the 2018 numbers (89,407), youth suicides in India have risen by 4 per cent in one year. A state-wise break-up meanwhile has revealed that Maharashtra has topped the list with 18,916 cases, Tamil Nadu (13,439) and West Bengal (12,655) have occupied the next two top slots. While in 2 per cent of the cases, the cause of suicide was established to be unemployment, in almost 10.1 per cent cases, the people who killed themselves were unemployed, which may or may not have triggered the suicide. The overall male-female ratio among those who killed themselves in 2019 was 70.2 males to 29.8 females, which is more when compared to 2018 (68.5 males to 31.5 females), the report said. Out of the total 97,613 male suicides, maximum were committed by daily wage earners (29,092) followed by self-employed persons (14,319) and then those who were unemployed (11,599), according to the report. Also, most females committed suicides because of 'marriage related issues' (specifically dowry related), followed by 'impotence and infertility', the report said. A total of 41,493 females committed suicides in 2019, out of which 21,359 were housewives, followed by students (4,772) and daily wage earners (3,467). A total of 17 transgenders have committed suicide. Out of the 17 transgenders, 4 each were unemployed and daily wage earners, 2 were self-employed and one was a student. Six fall under the 'Other' category," the report said. Data also showed that 66.7 per cent (92,757 out of 1,39,123) of those who committed suicides were married, while 23.6 per cent were unmarried (32,852). But, while it is definitely a disturbing trend, what is required now is to find out ways and means to prevent suicides. This cannot be done by the government alone, though the fact remains that the government is largely responsible for increasing unemployment, one of the most common factors behind suicides. The society as a whole too has a responsibility, and so does every individual family. Although suicide is a deeply personal and an individual act, suicidal behaviour is determined by a number of individuals and social factors. Suicide is best understood as a multidimensional, multifactorial malaise. Suicide is perceived as a social problem in our country and hence, mental disorder is given equal conceptual status with family conflicts, social maladjustment etc. According to World Health Organization (WHO), suicide does not just occur in high-income countries, but is a global phenomenon in all regions of the world. In fact, over 79% of global suicides had occurred in low and middle-income countries during 2016. As WHO has observed, suicide is a serious public health problem. But, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. For national responses to be effective, a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy is needed. 

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