Mumbai: India accounts for a whopping 36.6 per cent of suicides among women in the world. It is the leading cause of death in the 15-39 years age group in India and suicide rate among the elderly has increased over the past quarter century. A study was conducted in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other institutes to examine the extent and reasons for suicide in India, which revealed nearly 37 per cent of all women committing suicide across world are Indians. From 1990-2016, India’s contribution to the global suicide rate rose by 11 per cent — meaning from 25.3 per cent cases of suicide by women went up to 36.6 per cent. In a written reply to a question raised in Parliament regarding the rising cases of female suicide in the country, Anupriya Patel, minister of state in the ministry of health and family welfare stated, “According to the report ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States’ prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the percentage of deaths due to suicide and interpersonal violence is 2.8 per cent of the total deaths in the country.
“Between 1990 and 2016, India’s contribution to global suicide rate increased from 25.3 per cent to 36.6 per cent among women. The causes of suicide have their origin in the social, economic, cultural, psychological and health status of an individual. “The individual risk factors for suicide include, inter-alia previous suicide attempt, mental disorders, harmful use of alcohol, job or financial loss, hopelessness, chronic pain, family history of suicide and genetic and biological factors.”
In the recent days, in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai alone, there have been two incidents of suicide among women. In the first incident, a 27-year-old woman doctor, preparing for the NEET to obtain admission to MD (Doctor of Medicine), allegedly killed herself on January 5 by jumping from her 12th floor apartment in Thane, near Mumbai. Police said they had found an unverified suicide note, reportedly written by the student. “In the suicide note believed to have been written by her, she mentioned she was unable to cope with the pressure to prepare for the entrance examination for MD,” said a police officer.
Dr Ashish Deshpande, a psychiatrist from Advanced Multi Hospital, said, the 11 per cent spike in the rate of female suicide must be taken seriously. If we look at the present day scenario, women do not receive enough familial support. “ Although the new-age woman is empowered, this empowerment is not making much difference in preventing suicide. Women have to play various roles in society and this pressure is causing the rise in suicide rates,” observed Dr Deshpande. In another incident, a 14-year-old girl from Navi Mumbai committed suicide in a fit of rage after her mother refused to give her a mobile phone. Her parents had given her a mobile during Christmas but took it away from her once Christmas vacations were over, so that she could focus on her studies. One day, after school, she asked her mother for her mobile. But her mother refused. This refusal upset the girl so much that she hanged herself from the ceiling fan. Dr Aditi Acharya, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist said, “The ever-increasing amount of responsibilities a woman must bear has led to more stress and the most crucial reason behind female suicide is the change in lifestyle.”