1100 Defence Personnel Committed Suicide Between 2010-19: Report
The Indian Army with 12 lakh personnel recorded 895 suicides, the highest number among all other defence forces in the period of 2010-2019.
More than 1100 defence personnel from the Indian Army, Air Force, and Navy committed suicide in the past decade, the Defence Ministry revealed in a recent report.
The shocking figures point at an immediate need for effective suicide prevention in the country, the report noted. The Indian Army with 12 lakh personnel recorded 895 suicides, the highest number among all other defence forces in the period of 2010-2019, followed by the IAF with 185 suicides and the Navy, which witnessed 32 suicides, The Times of India reported.
The report cited mental stress as the main reason for suicides, especially among those who are on active duty across the world. It also said that The military forces in the United States recorded an alarming suicide rate of 541 in 2018. This rate among active-duty troops was 24.8 per 100,000 personnel, increasing from 21.9 in 2017, the report mentioned.
In India, several factors affecting the mental health and physical endurance of soldiers were identified. Deployment along with the border areas, counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the north-east region, postings in field areas and inability to tackle family problems from a distance.
"Earlier, news from home came periodically. Now, they get updates 24x7 through mobile phones, which has added to the stress level," a senior officer said. The Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) has conducted several studies since 2006 explaining that "domestic and personal problems, marital discord, stress, health issues and financial problems are major causes behind suicides in the armed forces."
To curb this rampant rise in the suicide rate, the Defence Ministry has undertaken several measures over the years to reduce stress among military personnel, which include counselling, grievance redressal mechanisms to improve food, clothing, married accommodation and liberalised leave policy, the report states.