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Monday, June 24, 2013

Half of Mumbai’s suicide victims below age 30

 Suicides in Mumbai rose by an alarming 12% in 2012 after witnessing a dip the previous year. A staggering 50% of those who took their lives in the city were younger than 30 and among these more than half were women, reveals the latest data of the National Crime Records Bureau.
    A total of 1,296 people killed themselves in the financial capital last year, placing it fourth in the list of Indian cities with the highest suicide incidence. Chennai led the death chart with 2,183 suicides, followed by Bangalore (1,989) and Delhi (1,397).
    The national suicide rate (total suicides per lakh population) stood at 11.4 in 2012, a few points higher than Mumbai's 7 and a few points lower than Maharashtra's 14.
    Generally, men accounted for more suicide deaths than women. The trend was true in Mumbai, where 59% of the suicide victims were men, and in Maharashtra, where 70% of the victims were males. Nationally too, the ratio of male to female suicide victims was 66.2 to 33.8. An exception to the trend was the age group of up to 14 years; in Mumbai, thrice the number of girls in this age bracket killed themselves than boys.
    Dr Lakshmi Vijaykumar, who was responsible for the inclusion of suicide prevention in the National Mental Health Policy of India, said there is wide variation in suicide rates within the country. "The southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have a suicide rate of more than 15, while in the northern states of Punjab, UP, Bihar and Kashmir, the suicide rate is less than 3. This pattern has been stable for the last twenty years."
    Vijaykumar added that smaller cities are worryingly catching up with metros in recording high suicide rates. "Also, the fact that 71% of suicides in India are by persons below the age of 44 imposes a huge social, emotional and economic burden on our society."
    Family problems were revealed in the NCRB data to be the single largest factor driving people to end their lives. The factor was given as the cause of 40% suicides—264 men and 262 women—in Mumbai and 26% suicides across the country. Major illnesses, such as cancer and AIDS, taken together constituted the second biggest suicide cause—causing 28% of the deaths—in Mumbai. They were followed by drug addiction (6.9%), failure in exam (4.5%) and love affairs (4.5%). Boys and girls alike took their lives over love affairs.
    Emotional reasons like failed marriage, relationship and love affairs drove most of the 534 female suicides in Mumbai. By contrast, the causes of the 762 male suicides were economic, relating to poverty and employment.
    Hanging emerged to be the most employed method to end one's life, with 917 of the 1,296 victims in the city using it. In Maharashtra, 7,055 people killed themselves this way. Selfimmolation was the second most common suicide method in Mumbai and consuming poison the third. Surprisingly, only one person committed suicide in the city by coming under the train, though the figure for the category was 128 in the state.

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