Over a period of three years, from 2013 to 2015, three major reasons for suicides commonly seen in both men and women are family problems, illness and failure in examinations, reveals an RTI reply given to Hindustan Times by the Mumbai Police .
Out of the 3,640 suicides that took place in Mumbai for three years (2013-2015), about 2,304 i.e. 63.2% of the suicides are committed by males .
Of the 3,640 suicides, about 41% is due to family problems and 21% is due to illness. While the break up for family problems is not provided, the one for illness comprises prolonged illness, insanity or mental illness, paralysis, cancer and STD including AIDS. About 68 males and 70 females, all of them school/college students aged below 25 years, have committed suicide due to fear of failure or failure in examination .
Apart from these three reasons which make for the majority of suicides in both male and females, there are two specific reasons seen in males and females for committing suicides. In males, two specific reasons are unemployment which has claimed 226 lives and drug abuse/addiction which has claimed 142 lives. In females, two specific reasons are marriage related issues which have claimed 134 lives and love affairs which have claimed 54 lives . For example, model Viveka Babaji, film actress Jiah Khan and television actress Pratyusha Banerjee committed suicide due to failed love affairs.
A close look at the age groups reveals that in females a majority i.e. 60.8% of suicides are committed by persons below the age of 30, while in men the percentage stands at 40.4%. Also, what is worrisome is the fact the number of youngsters committing suicide is very high. About 46% i.e. 1, 682 persons who committed suicide are in the age group of 15-30 years. Another 32% i.e. 1,155 who committed suicide are in the age group 30-45 years. Put together, the age groups between 15-45 years comprise 78% of the total suicides.
Among the means adopted for killing oneself, hanging tops the list — about 70.7% of the total. This is followed by self-immolation by fire, consuming poison and jumping off heights. Incidentally, about 273 women have committed suicide by self-immolation, while for men the figure stands at 170. The figure for women committing suicide by self-immolation is reasonably high as overall lesser women commit suicide.
Dr. Harish Shetty who has conducted over 500 workshops on suicide prevention reaching out to thousands, said, “Suicide has become an epidemic and it kills more than Malaria does. There is no psychological autopsy done by BMC. There is a disconnection in society which is worse than HIV as more people are dying of suicide.”
“Together we need to fight alienation and there is a need for having a mental health soldier at educational institutions and health centres to identify depression and suicidal tendencies. The government has undertaken door to door checkup for physical illness but my idea of checking for mental illness is unacceptable to them,” added Shetty.
City based psychiatrist, Rajendra Barve said, “Early identification and evaluation of suicidal tendencies is important. Ones who are lonely and isolated are more prone to it. Also, there should not be misconceptions like ones who threatened suicide will never actually commit it.”