Bengaluru: As per finding of a paper, ” Gender differentials and state variations in suicide deaths in India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2016,” published on Wednesday, September 12, in The Lancet Public Health, almost four out of 10 women who commit suicide in the world are from India. About 71.2 percent of these suicides were in the 15-29 age group. The paper declared that India’s contribution to global suicide deaths had increased from 25.3 percent in 1990 to 36.6 percent in 2016 among women. According to the study put in for the paper, in 2016, India accounted for 17.8 percent of the world’s population and recorded 36.6 percent of the 2,57,624 suicides among women as compared to in 1990 when India accounted for 16.4 percent of the world’s population and 25.3 percent of the suicide rates among women.
Among the contributors for India’s leading women suicide rates, Karnataka takes the second position at 23.5 percent, only surpassed by Tamil Nadu at 25.3 percent. In the paper, Lancet also warns of an impending public health crisis, where there is a huge spike in the numbers of young adults taking their own lives and that suicide ranks first in the cause of death of people in the age groups of 15-29 and 15-39. This paper was a part of the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative, a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Prof. Rakhi Dandona, the lead author of the paper has said that the main reasons for suicide among young adults was family/marriage issues and financial issues. She also said that married women account for a very large portion of the victims and that this could be due to an early marriage, young motherhood, low social status, domestic violence and economic dependence.
Suicide deaths are the ninth largest cause for mortality rates in India, with an increase of 40.1 percent from the year 1990 to the year 2016.
All of these findings were in line with earlier reports on suicide mortality in India, including the Million Death Study findings.
Dr. Vikram Patel, Professor, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard TH School of Public Health explains that there are no definitive explanations as to why the suicide rates differ so much between states or why there are higher rates of suicides in states with better socio-economic indicators. One theory for this could be that young people in such states face greater challenges to achieve their life goals.
With these latest findings, it shows that suicide, without a doubt, is a national public health emergency and that the country needs a plan to reduce them drastically.