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World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow

The trend of committing suicides is growing in the country with the latest figures showing a 28 per cent jump during the decade 1997-2007.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2009 22:54 IST

The trend of committing suicides is growing in the country with the latest figures showing a 28 per cent jump during the decade 1997-2007.

In the year 1997, the number of persons who committed suicide was 95,829 and by the year 2007 the total number of persons committing suicide was over a lakh(1,22,637), according to figures available with the National Crime Records Bureau.

Thursday, Sept 10, is observed as the World Suicide Prevention Day organized by the International Association of Suicide Prevention(IASP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization. The theme of the World Suicide Prevention Day is “Suicide Prevention in Different Cultures”.

“More than a million people worldwide die by suicide each year. More people kill themselves than die in all wars, terrorist activities and homicides. Many millions more make suicide attempt severe enough to need medical treatment, and over six million people are affected each year by the disastrous impact of the suicide of a close one friend or family member,” says President IASP Brian Mishara.

The day will be launched at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday where Mishara and WHO representatives will announce latest figures on suicide worldwide and suicide prevention activities.

According to WHO suicide is now being recognized in the countries of south east asia as major public health problem in the complex scenario of development and lifestyle changes. “Cumulative research ,media reports and anecdoatal evidence over the past three decades reveal that suicides are an emerging epidemic the world over.”

India and Sri Lanka record the highest number of suicide rates in the region with 11 and 37 per 100,000 population respectively.

WHO says the threat of suicide should be taken seriously because those who commit suicide give early clues at some point . In India nearly 10 to 20 per cent of suicide victims had seen a physician a few days prior to the act.

Psychological Counsellor Neera Jain says, “Disintegration of the joint family has removed the support system for the individual at times of emotional and psychological crisis.”

“Unrealistic expectations put tremendous emotional, physical and psychological pressure on the individual. Suicide is not committed at the spur of the moment but is the culmination of long period of stress when a single act may trigger the person to take the final step. If a friend or some other person can reach out to him the moment is averted and the individual can be saved,”she adds.

According to NCRB , five states West Bengal followed by Maharashtra,Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka registered consistently higher number of suicidal deaths during the last few years and accounted for 10 per cent or more of the total suicides reported in the country during 2005-2007.

Poducherry reported the highest rate of suicide (48.6) followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (38.5) while the all India rate of suicides was 10.8 in 2007 compared to 10.5 during 2006.

Family problems and illness were two of the major causes for suicides accounting for more than 22 per cent of the suicides during the years 2005-2007, and the most preferred mode adopted in committing suicide was poisoning 35 per cent of cases followed by hanging 32 per cent of cases.

The WHO has suggested development of national suicide prevention strategies alongwith early implementation and evaluation.