Suicide rates spike; 14.53L took their life in 11 yrs

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The declining trend in suicides witnessed during 2016 and 2017 has reversed, with latest government statistics showing a spike in the number of people taking their own lives in 2018.

The country witnessed 1.34 lakh suicides in 2018 compared to 1.29 lakh in 2017, 1.31 lakh in 2016 and 1.33 lakh in 2015, according to Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2018, released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Friday.

On average, 369 people (16 per hour) committed suicide in 2018. Since 2008, 14.53 lakh people have taken their life owing to various reasons, which included family problems, illness, love affairs, career problems, sense of isolation, abuse, violence, mental disorders, addiction to alcohol, financial loss and chronic pain among others.

"Each suicide is a personal tragedy that prematurely takes the life of an individual and has a continuing ripple effect, dramatically affecting the lives of families, friends and communities. Every year, more than 1,00,000 people commit suicide in our country," the report said.

Maharashtra tops the list of suicides with 17,972 incidents in 2018, while Karnataka figures in the top-five list. Tamil Nadu came second with 13,896 deaths, followed by West Bengal (13,225), Madhya Pradesh (11,775) and Karnataka (11,561).

Among these five states, which alone account for 50.9% of the suicides in 2018, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have registered a dip in the number of suicides compared to 2017.

When it comes to metros, Chennai (2,102), Delhi (2,369), Bengaluru (2,082) and Mumbai (1,174) have reported a high number of suicides. These four cities together have reported almost 36.1% of the 21,408 suicides reported from 53 megacities.

Farmer suicides

Of the 1.34 lakh suicides, 10,349 deaths occurred in the farming sector and this includes 5,763 farmers and 4,586 agricultural workers. The 2018 statistics showed that the number of suicides in the farm sector has come down marginally, from 10,655 suicides in 2017.

Maharashtra (3,594 in 2018 and 3,701 in 2017) and Karnataka (2,405 and 2,160) tops the list of farmer suicides. Maharashtra recorded 10,956 suicides and Karnataka 6,653 in farm sector between 2015 and 2018.

Among the victims, 68.5% were male. "Nearly 70.3% of the male victims were married while 65.4% of female victims were married," the report said.

On the education front, it said 12.7% victims of suicide were illiterate, 17.1% were educated up to primary level, 19.5% educated up to middle level and 23.6% of the suicide victims were educated up to matric level.

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