Every year, the international community celebrates World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 to highlight several ways through which it can be prevented. The day is organised by the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The event marks the global commitment to prevent rising suicides. The theme for Suicide Prevention Day 2021 is "creating hope through action". In 2019, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), showed that 1.39 lakh Indians died by suicide. Among them, more than 60 per cent of were young adults.
139.12 Of Every 1,000 Indians Died By Suicide
A study by Statista showed that in 1971, 43.68 per cent of 1,000 Indians died by suicide. On the other hand, in 2019, 139.12 of every 1,000 Indians took their lives. In 2019, youth suicides had increased 4 per cent more than the preceding year. More than 53 per cent of people hung themselves. The commemoration of Suicide Prevention Day highlights how mental health is vital in current stressful times. According to WHO data, every year 703 000 people die by suicide every year. Over 77 per cent of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2019. These countries lack the resources and the proper strategy to deal with it. .
When the first Suicide Prevention Day was marked in 2003, WHO formualated a strategy to reduce the rising deaths due to suicides. The global health organisation has emphasised the need to increase awareness about suicidal behaviours and effectively prevent them. Secondly, it has prioritised strengthening countries' capabilities to develop and evaluate national plans and policies for suicide prevention. The WHO has flagged suicide as a rising cause of death amongst Indians.
Reasons Behind Rising Suicides
Among young Indians (18-44 years), the NCRB report reveals that family problems are the most common cause of suicide. Of the total number of suicides in 2019, 34 per cent, or 31,725 suicides, happened due to family problems, whereas marriage-related issues caused 7.3 per cent of (7,293) suicides. Mental health issues caused about 7 per cent of the suicides in the country, whereas drug abuse or alcohol addiction caused 5,257 suicides or 5.6 per cent of the total suicides in the country. Nearly 5.2 per cent of people chose to end their lives over failed love relationships. The occurrence of suicide because of family problems and deteriorating mental health is high among males.
India and China contribute to more than 40 per cent of the annual global suicides, reported the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The COVID pandemic has just worsened the problem. In India, the budgetary allocation for mental health has remained abysmal. In 2020 (before COVID struck), it was a mere 0.5 per cent. In the financial year 2019, the budget allocated to the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) was brought down to ₹ 40 crore from ₹ 50 crore in FY18.
The Union Budget of 2021-22 proposed a corpus of ₹71,269 crore for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This also includes the budget for mental healthcare – a total of ₹ 597 crore. However, only seven percent of the mental health budget has been allocated for the NMHP. A majority of it has been set aside for two institutions: ₹ 500 crore for Bengaluru based National Institute of Mental Health and Sciences (NIMHANS) and ₹ 57 crore for Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health in Tezpur. Overall, the budget for the NMHP has remained the same as 2020-2021 – ₹ 40 crore.
Southeast Asian nations contribute the most to the Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to reduce suicide cases by one-third by 2030. Eighteen per cent of the global population resides in India. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the country to dedicate significant resources to provide mental health support and family counselling to its citizens, eventually making a global difference and decreasing suicide rates worldwide.