March 22nd, 2016
Image Courtesy: ibtimes
From students in secondary school and higher education to farmers to actors and actresses – the news of suicide is galore all around us. Whether we recall the suicide note of the 25-year-old Jiah Khan (in which she kept repeating the same things which dogged her troubled mind for months before she hanged herself), or Rohith Vemula whose suicide note did the rounds on media platforms recently, or the Vidarbha farmers – they all decided to end their lives because apparently the pain of living for them was more than the ease of taking their lives. The questions that beg answers are these: would a troubled mind understand that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem? What is it that drives people to this ultimate “solution” to any problem? Would they even think of living or dying as a “choice” to be made? Would they be so self-consumed due to depression that they would hardly think of their dear ones who would still be alive to face the aftermath?
Numbers speak volumes:
Every 40 seconds a life is lost through suicide (Worldwide as per WHO data). In India, in every 3 seconds, a person attempts to die. According to WHO report, “Preventing Suicide, A Global Imperative” in 2012 there were a whopping 8 lakh suicide deaths all over the world. It is the leading cause of death in the age-group between 15-29-years. Based on this parameter, the worst countries were North and South Korea, Guyana, Lithuania and Sri Lanka. India had nearly 2.6 lakh suicides, overtaking China which counted 1.2 lakh.
While the world average number of suicides due to all causes is 11.6 per 100, 000 India’s annual suicide rate is 10.5 per 100,000. It occupies the 12th position in the world. The least rate of suicidal deaths comes from the Scandinavian countries which are often perceived as societies with high suicide rates.
Internationally, suicide accounts for 50% of all violent deaths in men and 71% in women. In India the male-to-female ratio is 1.6. In 2012, 1.6 lakh men committed suicide though there has been a decline in the suicidal rate since then.
If we talk about suicide rates state wise, the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu along with eastern state of West Bengal, Tripura and Mizoram have a suicide rate of greater than 16 while in the Northern States of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the suicide rate is less than 4.
Government’s stand on suicide in India:
Suicide is a legal crime in India inviting maximum punishment of one year according to Indian Penal Code 309. Indian government classifies a death as suicide if the death is unnatural, the victim himself / herself thought of the death and there was a known on the unknown motive behind the death.
What drives people to take the extreme step?
Marriage-related issues, bankruptcy or indebtedness, non-settlement of marriage (misuse of Section 498(A) of IPC and the Domestic Violence Act of 2005), dowry related issues, extramarital affairs, divorce, failure in examination, impotence / infertility, family troubles, illness, AIDS / STD, cancer, paralysis, insanity, mental illness, bereavement of a dear one, drug addition, fall in social reputation, love affairs, poverty, unemployment, property dispute, suspected / illicit relation, hero worshipping and property dispute are the major causes of suicides as per the records of 2014.
How do they do it?
The most common methods for committing suicide in 2012 were poisoning (33%), hanging (31%), burning oneself (9%).
How to combat this crisis?
In 2003, a three-pronged method to prevent suicides was suggested. – reducing social isolation, preventing social disintegration and treating mental disorders. Additionally, the banning of pesticides and ropes would be effective. It has been suggested by experts that there should be proper legislation to prevent the misuse of Domestic Violence Act. Providing relief to farmers due to crop failure would eliminate a major cause of suicide in India. Parents need to understand that their kids are not participating in a rat race. Yes, marks are important but only to get on to the next step of getting admission in a college. After that it is the work experience that counts.
The Logical Indian is concerned by the high rates of suicides especially among youth and children for reasons like a failure in exams. It disturbs us to know the Gen Next are not fully equipped to cope with failures professionally and personally. We have to learn to set things right and move on. We hope parents, civil societies, government and NGOs take this up seriously and spread awareness on the same. There is always a life to look forward to, there are always people who you can help, by committing suicide that chance of helping others also dies.