Covid pushes suicides up; Highest since 1967 in India
Kozhikode : In a startling revelation, the 2020 National Crime Bureau Report (NCRB), published by the central government, indicates a notable surge in the number of suicides recorded in 2020, the highest since 1967. The data points out that the number of suicides stood at 1,53,052 cases which is 13,929 more than what was recorded in 2019.
Interestingly, the rate of suicide per one lakh of the population places Kerala at 24, which is higher than the national average of 11.3. The data ranks the state fifth on the list of suicide rates in States/UTs during 2020, with a meagre drop from 24.3 rates reported in 2019 and 23.5 registered in 2018.
Kerala reports 8,500 suicides
While considering the suicide rate in the cities across the country, Kollam tops the list with a suicide rate of 44. Kerala reported 8500 suicides in 2020 . Meantime, the national average stood at 11.3. Kerala also recorded 1769(11.3) suicides among unemployed persons in 2020, the second-highest in the country. Similarly, in Kerala, illness and family problems resulted in 5508 suicides last year.
The impact of Covid-19 in personal life is identified as the primary reason behind the surge in suicides across the country.
'We expected an increase in suicides due to Covid-19. Unemployment, Covid related stress, and financial recession in personal life have resulted in depression and, hence suicide. Another major issue was the post covid depression. To tackle all these, the government had started a mental health helpline (Ottakalla Oppamundu), to prevent suicide. Several people have sought our helpline service, and we were able to thwart them from attempting suicide,' Dr Tom Varghese, Consultant Psychiatrist of Beach Hospital said to mathrubhumi.com.
The annual Accidental Deaths and Suicides (ADSI) report, published by the NCRB records the number of accidents and deaths by accident or suicides in India.
'Taking preventive measures and ideal strategies to deal with depression can help us cope with this issue,' Dr Tom Varghese added. 'Aashwasam,' a Health Department project from Kerala Government to tackle depression at the primary care level, is one such initiative that provides free treatment for helping people overcome depression.
There is also an increase in the number of suicides among students and small entrepreneurs, as a result of the covid pandemic. Among students, who are more vulnerable to suicide tendencies, there was a surge of 21.2% in 2020, the highest among people of varied occupations, followed by professionals or salaried individuals (16.5%), and daily wage earners (15.7%).
Dr Tom Varghese added that lack of awareness is the major reason why depression is often left unaddressed by many people. The report also reveals that the age group between 18-30 and 30-45 were the most vulnerable group resorting to suicide. These age groups accounted for 34.4% and 31.4% of suicides respectively.
(Suicide is not a solution to any problem. Seek the help of a mental health expert if you are in distress. Toll-free helpline number= 1056)