Suicide: Depression major cause, women attempt more than men

Suicide: Depression major cause, women attempt more than men

Suicide: Depression major cause, women attempt more than men

The number of women attempting suicide in the country is nearly thrice that of men, while people in the age-group of 15-30 are the most vulnerable section of the society who claim their lives, experts claim.

According to the Indian Psychiatric Society, however, only 10-15 per cent of suicidal bids are "impulsive" and the rest can be prevented through timely intervention and appropriate psycho-social therapy.

The global community today joins in observing the World Suicide Prevention Day to raise awareness about its prevention, a major cause of death worldwide.

According to WHO, 800,000 people lose their life to suicide each year –- one person every 40 seconds, and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt again.

"In India, women attempt more suicide than men, on an average nearly 2.5-3 times. But nearly three times men as against women are ending their lives. Only 10-15 per cent cases are impulsive attempts, meaning a person attempts suicide himself or herself.

"In the rest, the person shows signs that he or she may attempt it, like 'my life is not worth living', which is the most common expression. And, if people around them can sense and intervene in time, then such cases can be prevented," Indian Psychiatric Society President Dr G Prasad Rao told PTI.

The Society, founded in 1947, has been creating awareness about its causes and prevention. It will hold programmes and athletic run tomorrow to mark the day.

Rao says "farmer, student and dowry-related suicides are the most common".

"It's a bio-psychosocial disorder and depression is the major cause that leads to death by suicide, followed by mental anxiety and personality disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder," he says.

Rao says though suicide is preventable through timely intervention and psychosocial therapy, many people fail to assess the situation when someone may be suicidal and how to respond to it.

According to a study carried out recently by Delhi-based Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS), 71 per cent of people were not aware as to what to do when someone around them showed suicidal tendencies.

The study, released to mark the World Suicide Prevention Day, consisted of two parts -- a public survey to gauge awareness, perception and impact of suicide in general public, and a clinical research of data to assess various psychological trends associated with suicidal behaviour.

"67 per cent of people with suicidal behaviour had an underlying major depressive disorder, 55 per cent had alcohol or other addictions, 26 per cent had personality disorders, 12 per cent had bipolar affective disorder, 7 per cent had schizophrenia while 2 per cent had eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia," it said.

The CIMBS study included about 500 participants, falling in the age group of 18-62 years, in the general public category from the Delhi-NCR region. Of this, 88 per cent aged between 18 and 35. And, men and women respondent were 52 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively.

"55 per cent people knew someone in their personal, social or professional circle who had lost their life to suicide, while 61 per cent people knew someone in their personal, social or professional circle who had attempted suicide, but managed to survive," it says.

53 per cent of respondents felt that they were "personally impacted" by such incidents.

The study also analysed 1,000 clinical cases from January- August to analyse the psychological trends in people who showed suicidal behaviour.

In 75 per cent of suicides, the victims aged less than 35, while in case of attempted suicides, 34 per cent were young adults (19-24 years).

In those showing suicidal behaviours, young adults (24-35 years) comprised 42 per cent, followed by those in the group of 35-49 years (33 per cent). Teenagers in the bracket of 13-19 years formed 17 per cent of the clinical cases analysed, while those over 50 years composed 8 per cent.

Also, unemployed people (32 per cent) showed most suicidal tendencies, followed by students (26 per cent) and professionals (22 per cent), the study claimed.

Rao also adds that students are attempting suicides because of examination performance worries, life stress or other factors.

Kota in Rajasthan, considered a major coaching hub for competition examinations like IIT-JEE, has reported many suicide cases over last few years.

According to National Crime Records Bureau figures, in 2014, as many as 1,31,666 people committed suicide and 15 suicides took place every hour that year.

Maximum suicides in 2014 were reported in Maharashtra (16,307) followed by Tamil Nadu (16,122) and West Bengal (14,310), accounting for 12.4 per cent, 12.2 per cent and 10.9 per cent, respectively, of the total suicides reported in the country.

Puducherry reported the highest rate of suicides (40.4) followed by Sikkim (38.4), Andman and Nicobar Islands (28.9) and Telangana (26.5) that year, according to NCRB data.

The suicide rate in cities (12.2 per cent) was higher as compared to all-India suicide rate (10.6 per cent).

Rao says that though youths ageing between 15 and 30 are most vulnerable, the suicidal tendencies peak in old age too (55-70).

"It is mainly because of loneliness and lack of family or societal support system that these people attempt to take their lives or end up killing themselves. It is important to know that most of suicide cases are preventable only if timely intervention can be made, and the stigma of mental health illness can be removed," he said.

The Indian Psychiatric Society's president says the government in its new mental healthcare bill mentions about "decriminalising" suicides, and it's a welcome step.

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