During the last decade the incidence of suicides in India has increased from 108,593 in 2000 to 134,599 in 2010 (23.8% change).
Suicides and attempted suicides are far more common amongst males, those with depression, failed relationships, excessive alcohol abuse, loss of rational thinking, financial loss and/or inability to manage finances, lack of social support, not coming up to expectations of those who matter and more.
Suicides have a social, cultural, and economic background. Thus, while farmer suicides may be a phenomenon in some states, children dying by suicides especially following declaration of examination results is an expression of the expectations from the parents. Stress has been pointed out as a significant factor in a large number of cases. Termination of significant relationships, especially in younger age group, is a significant cause. In quite a few cases, an inability to terminate or failure to bring a relationship to logical conclusion in extramarital affairs, and triangular love stories, precipitates suicide attempt.
Some of the common warning signals in vulnerable people may include someone going into a shell, organising his finances, writing will, or anything suggestive of winding up. Someone taking to excessive smoking are other warning signs. An usually introvert person suddenly reaching out to people may also be of concern.
Importantly, the number of attempted suicides range between 8-10 times the numbers of death by suicide. This strongly suggest that most of the deaths that occur by suicide have a chance to be prevented. The concluding part of this article in the next issue will go into preventing suicides and useful helplines in Bengaluru.