Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): ‘Suicides don’t take place in a vacuum. They take place in a society. Suicide cannot be blamed on an individual, no matter how much our society loves to do it but it can be blamed on a social context — the caste system, for one.
A society that is full of stratification, oppression and discrimination, both in microcosmic and macrocosmic social spaces.
If we are to even think of a subject as complex as suicide prevention, especially in a country where suicide rates are alarming among vulnerable population, we have to take several steps back from the individual suicide,’ Dr Naresh Purohit, adviser to National Mental Health Programme, said.
Voicing concern here on the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, noted mental health expert Dr Purohit pointed out that over 13k students died in 2021 in India at the rate of more than 35 every day.
This is up by 4.5pc from the 12,526 deaths in 2020 with 864 out of 10,732 suicides being due to ‘failure in examination’ according to the latest data as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB’s) ADSI report, 2021. He said that suicide prevention still remains a universal challenge.
Every year, suicide is among the top 20 causes of death globally. It snuffs over 800,000 lives. He stated that there is a lot of evidence that exposure to death by suicide may trigger suicidal thoughts and behaviour in vulnerable people.
This is called ‘contagion’ and can lead to a cluster of suicides, in a particular area or within a group. So, any death by suicide needs to be reported and managed sensitively to limit distress and reduce the risk of contagion.
‘Mental health issues had increased significantly post-Covid-19 as people were struggling with emotional and financial crises,’ Dr Purohit said.
‘Although there has been lot of awareness at various levels, more sensitisation is needed at many levels, including parents, teachers and communities to prevent the risk of suicides. Moreover, families play a pivotal role in supporting an individual in distress, he advised.