Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among young Indians, says a new London-based medical study. The research, based on UN figures and published in the Lancet medical journal, says that the suicide rate is highest among well-educated young people from India’s richer, southern states.
“Young, educated Indians from the richer states of India are killing themselves in numbers that are almost the highest in the world,” said the report’s lead author Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Indian docs cite many reasons for it. “One of the main reasons is that when young people start working and move to bigger cities, situations like uprooting, loneliness and sudden changes in lifestyle crop up. You might see people having fun at a party, but at the end of the day, these people feel alone,” says psychiatrist Avdesh Sharma.
Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, VIMHANS, says, “Our society is becoming very achievement-oriented, and when people don’t achieve their goals, they go into depression.” Broken personal relationships add to the phenomenon. “Depression, frustration and soured relationships are making the youth take such drastic steps,” says psychiatrist Deepak Raheja, adding that better mental health facilities and emotional counselling are needed to bring down these astounding figures.
Young people say the pressures are enormous. “Each of us has felt suicidal at some point. There’s a lot to cope up with — earning well, topping exams, winning love — it’s all so impossible it sometimes makes you want to give up,” says Divya Rai, 26. “Sometimes, you feel there’s money but no real meaning in life,” says Bhavya Singh, 19. “Having friends and family who can lend an ear and love you back can stop this,” says Jai Gupta, 23.
With inputs from AFP and HTC