'NCRB's figures on suicides are underestimated'

Actual figures could easily be 20 times more, says Nimhans

'NCRB's figures on  suicides are  underestimated'

The statistic released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently, on the number of suicides in the country shocked a many.

However, what is even more shocking is the claim by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) that the figures were largerly under-estimated.

The NCRB had reported that as many as 1.35 lakh people had voluntarily ended their lives in the country in 2013 and that nearly 35,000 of them were in the age group of 25-30.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Dr G Gururaj, Professor and Head of Department of Epidemiology at Nimhans, said that these figures were just the tip of an iceberg as the actual figures could easily be 20 times more as there were many cases of attempted suicides.

According to World Health Organisation, which has recently termed India as the ‘suicide capital’ of the world, has estimated that close to 2.58 lakh persons had ended their lives in the country last year.

“The NCRB records stated that in Karnataka  11,600 persons had committed suicide and that incidences were on rise with more lethal methods being adopted. In Bangalore alone, 2,300 persons have committed suicide with nearly 30 per cent of them being very young,” he added.

Dr Gururaj said that there were certain measures that could be taken to prevent suicides— like no sale of insecticides and pesticides in open market and ban on sale of harmful drugs across the counter.

“Suicides are predictable and preventable.  The family members and people close to persons with suicidal tendencies must always tend to them and should also help others suffering from the tendencies,” he added. Nimhans Centre for Well Being has initiated a training programme called ‘Gatekeepers’ for those who believe that suicides can be prevented.

A gatekeeper can be a teacher, parent, student, community leader, social worker, a lay counsellor, a doctor etc, who is empowered with knowledge and basic skills in prevention of suicide. The programme involves training in identification of persons prone to suicides, assessing the level of risk, immediate intervention and resource mobilisation for getting further help.

Anyone can be part of the initiative ‘Be a gatekeeper – take the pledge today.’ For details visit gatekeepersindia.org or call Nimhans Well-being on 26685948 or 9480829670 or can write to nimhans.wellbeing@gmail.com

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