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India’s suicide story: Men more vulnerable than women; young at risk
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17
India is witnessing more suicide deaths than ever before. And men are more vulnerable. Fresh evidence on health indicators of the population collected by the government presents eye-opening details of suicide deaths which are on an upswing since 2005.

The young are the worst-affected with one in every three suicides involving a 15 to 29-year old. The trend is most visible in the age group 15 to 44 years which alone accounts for 68% (two in every three) of all 1,35, 445 suicides reported in the country last year.

“Deaths due to suicides are showing an upward trend,” states the National Health Profile 2013, a unique compilation by the government of health-related information, including mortality on account of factors such as diseases, accidents and suicides.

The study points that 65.3% of suicide deaths involved males, mostly young ones. Experts pointed out that people seem to be finding increasingly hard to cope with modern-day pressures.

Although the National Health Profile, compiled by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (an autonomous institution under Health Ministry) and released today by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, doesn’t investigate motives behind suicides, it presents ample evidence for policy makers to consider mental health implications of economic growth, open markets and shrinking opportunities.

Of 1, 35, 445 suicide deaths, 46,635 (34.4% involved 15 to 29-year-olds; 46,160 (34%) involved 30 to 44-year-olds.

Large, more developed states have a higher suicide death burden and Punjab and Haryana have reported the highest percentage of male suicide deaths as against female deaths.

Overall, Tamil Nadu has the highest burden of suicide deaths in India at 16,927 deaths followed by Maharashtra at 16,112, West Bengal at 14,957, Andhra Pradesh at 14,238 and Karnataka at 12753.

While nationally, 65.3% of all suicide deaths involved males, in Punjab and Haryana this percentage is much more than the national average at 76.1% and 73.3%, respectively. Punjab reported 1,030 suicides out of 1.35 lakh and of these, 784 were male suicides against 246 involving women.

Haryana reported 2,827 suicide deaths with a whopping 2071 involving men. Vardhan when asked to comment on trends said, “We require more comprehensive health related data for better policy planning and intervention.” India has some of the world's highest suicide rates. In 2010 for instance US reported 37,790 suicides as against India’s 1.34 lakh.

Shocking stats

  • 1.35 lakh suicide deaths reported last year, says National Health Profile, a government-sponsored study
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest number of suicides (16,927)
  • The young are the worst-affected with one in every three suicides involving a 15 to 29-year old.
  • Percentage of men committing suicide in comparison to women highest in Punjab and Haryana





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