Why is India becoming the new suicide capital?

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An Indian commits suicide every two minutes.
One person in the world dies by suicide every 40 seconds, and one of every three suicides takes place in India. This is what a World Health Organisation (WHO) report said which was published on Thursday.

The finding of a decade-long study by the WHO, which talks of a massive toll of tragic and preventable deaths said that India accounted for the highest number of suicide cases in the world in 2012.

The facts and figures revealed by WHO report:

The report said, suicide rates show a peak among the young and the elderly.

An Indian commits suicide every two minutes.

Suicides in India were committed in the age group 15-29 years.

More men kill themselves than women in India.

258,075 people committed suicide in India in 2012, with 99,977 women and 158,098 men.

Suicide rate in India was 21.1 per 100,000 people.

More than 800,000 people die by suicide every year - around one person every 40 seconds.

75 per cent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Most suicides in the world occur in the South-East Asia Region (39 per cent of those in low- and middle-income countries in South-East Asia alone) with India accounting for the highest estimated number of suicides overall in 2012.

Globally, pesticide poisoning, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide.

Will decriminalising suicide make a difference?

As per WHO, In India, the first step to prevent such incidents should be to decriminalise an attempted suicide. but the question is, will decriminalising really make a difference.

Today, the survivor of an attempted suicide can be arrested and kept in jail for a year. But still the number of cases have come to this stage. Does criminalising or decriminalising really affect it.

Why suicides are committed and how can they be prevented?

According to the NCRB report 'Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2012', trouble in the family is the most common reason for people killing themselves. Family trouble accounted for 25.6 %, or 30,792, of all suicides in the country in 2012. The data also cited familial discord as the main cause of suicide in 2011, when NCRB put the number at 32,909.

The state records more suicides than any other state in the country, accounting for 12.5% of all cases in 2012.

Professor MC Misra, Director at the country's premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences was quoted as saying in NDTV, "It is an extremely serious problem and it is likely to increase in future because of materialism coming into the society. Social disparity, economic disparity, educational disparity, access to health care is limited and many other reasons all lead to this problem."

One of the measures to prevent suicides could be by restricting access to poisonous material like pesticides.

Few steps to prevent suicides are:

Creating awareness of suicidal behaviour, so that it can be recognised early.

Limiting access to pesticides and drugs.

In Sri Lanka, suicide rates were cut by half by merely controlling the sale of pesticides.

Establishment of crisis intervention centres and suicide helplines.

Rather than mulling upon criminalising and decriminalising suicides, government should plan how to prevent these incidents by doing the needful.

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