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37% of women dying of suicide are Indian

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    20th Sep, 2018

The data released by the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative has revealed that in India suicide is the leading cause of death for the 15-39 years age group. Similar claims have been made by study done by Lancet.

Context

The data released by the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative has revealed that in India suicide is the leading cause of death for the 15-39 years age group. Similar claims have been made by study done by Lancet.

About

  • According to the study, India’s proportional contribution to global suicide deaths is high and increasing.
  • India’s contribution to global suicide deaths increased from 25.3% in 1990 to 36.6% in 2016 among women, and from 18.7% to 24.3% among men.
  • Suicide Death Rate (SDR) is higher than expected for its socio-demographic index level, especially for women, with substantial variations in the magnitude and men-to-women ratio between the states. The suicide rate among the elderly has also increased over the past quarter century.
  • Nearly 37% of female suicides globally occur in India.
  • Study indicates early marriage, male violence and patriarchal culture are to be blamed.
  • Suicide has recently been decriminalised, so there is a possibility of true rate being even higher but hidden by families and doctors for fear of stigma or police interference.

Facts:

  • The highest age-specific SDR among women in 2016 was for ages 15-29 years.
  • Suicide was the leading cause of death in India in 2016 for those aged 15-39 years; 71.2% of the suicide deaths among women and 57.7% among men were in this age group.

Significance

  • India’s high contribution — from 1990 to 2016 — to the total suicide deaths in the world, especially among women, is a cause of worry. It is a direct blow to their empowerment efforts.
  • The ten-fold SDR variation among the states for women shows the depth and spread of this public health crisis in India.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana consistently had a higher SDR for both men and women.
  • If the trends observed up to 2016 continue, the probability of India achieving Sustainable Development Goals for SDR reduction in 2030 is zero.

Way Forward

  • There is need to better understand the reasons behind these suicides and make concerted efforts to reduce this avoidable loss of predominantly young lives.
  • India must develop a suicide-prevention strategy that takes into account these variations in order to address this major public health problem.
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