National Productivity Council On Mental Health And Suicide Prevention Organises A Webinar

About 70 percent of people who die due to suicide are below 45 years of age. Among these more women commit suicide than men in India

A webinar on mental health and suicide prevention was conducted by the National Productivity Council of India today. 

Covid-19 pandemic has been a major cause of mental health issues and has increased the risk of suicides even more. 

Dr. Pratap Sharan, Prof Department of Psychiatry at AIIMS, Shri Arun Kumar Jha, Director General, NPC, India and Dr. Darpan Kaurwas, were present at the event to talk about this crucial issue.

Dr. Pratap Sharan mentioned, “We need to understand how suicide is associated with mental health. Suicide is very common, the global average is about 10.6 per lakh, which is about 1% out of ten thousand who die of suicide. About 8 lakh people die of suicide each year and this is not a small number.”

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If we look at the data of India, the rate of suicide is one and half times than of general global data, and it is believed that it is underestimated by 2 to 5 times. This shows that the rate of Suicide in India is pretty high. 

About 70 percent of people who die due to suicide are below 45 years of age. Among these more women commit suicide than men in India. 

However, according to data, there has also been a decrease in suicide rates. About 18% of the Global reduction has been seen between the years 2000 and 2016. While in India the rates have increased to 43% between the years 1975 to 2005.

This shows when the world rates were coming down the rates of suicide in India were increasing. 

People who attempt suicide and people who die by suicide are in slightly different categories. The majority of people who attempt suicide are likely to be younger and the reason for this could be due to any prolonged health issues like HIV or lack of social support.

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Reports show people who attempt suicide are likely to die in the next few years of attempting it like 1.6% die by the very next year while about 3.9% of them can die after the next 5 years. 

Both environmental and individual risk factors can be the reasons for suicide. 

In India, the mental illness is about one-third as compared to the rest of the world. 

These mental illnesses can be the common reasons behind suicide:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia disorder
  • Substance use disorder 

It can also occur due to:

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Family history of suicide 
  • Loss of parental in childhood 

Community engagements and community interventions are very important in preventing suicides. Other than that there are different ways in which it can be prevented like:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness or meditation
  • Dialectal behavior therapy

Though it is very important to remove the social stigma related to this issue.

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Covid-19 and Suicide:

Dr. Sharan said, “Mental health consequences are likely to be present for longer and might peak later after the pandemic. When the pandemic ends we should be ready to deal with this issue more”

The major factors behind increasing suicides during this pandemic are:

  • Fear of infection and stigma related to COVID-19 patients self-isolation
  • Physical distancing
  • Economic adversity
  • Domestic violence
  • Increased use of the substance

However, online mental health resources are now available as social actions.

Take-home messages:

  • At an individual level, if you come across a person who expresses suicidal thoughts may be at risk of suicide, try to maintain a relationship with this person.
  • Ensure a safe environment for them
  • If the risk of suicide is high refer the person immediately to a professional.


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