Suicides jump by 11% during Covid-19 lockdown in Ludhiana
Even as Ludhiana district has found itself facing soaring Covid-19 infections since March, the number of deaths by suicide also registered an 11% rise.
Investigation by the Ludhiana Police found a combination of depression, domestic violence, financial worries and reduced access to healthcare as the primary causes to the spike.
Of the total 137 suicides this year, while 61, including 15 by women, were reported between January 1 and March 31; following the Covid-19 lockdown, another 76 such deaths came to the fore through April to June. The latter comprised 54 males and 22 females, most of them victims of domestic violence.
Among the lockdown suicides were 44 by people suffering from depression, including a girl as young as nine years old and a man as old as 80 years old.
A majority of these persons were those who had lost their jobs during the pandemic. The nine-year-old girl had killed herself in Dhandhran Enclave on May 16. According to her parents, she was disturbed after a spat with her brother over playing games on a mobile phone.
Domestic violence was the second major reason behind suicides during the lockdown. In 16 cases out of the total 76, police found domestic violence behind women taking the extreme step. They were aged between 19 and 40 years.
The number of suicides before March 31 due to domestic violence was seven.
Financial problems drove five people to suicide, all aged between 32 and 40 years.
Among them, a private school employee ended his life while talking to his wife over a video call on May 14. The man, who was a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, worked as a computer operator with a private school. He was depressed due to Rs 2 lakh that he owed someone.
Prior to the lockdown, seven people, aged between 20 and 36 years, had ended their lives due to poor finances.
Police also found out that a 40-year-old debt-ridden man killed himself on April 1, while no such cases were reported before the lockdown.
Buried under the stress of studies, five persons, aged between 17 and 25 years, also died by suicide, while four persons killed themselves following failing health. They were between 42 to 45 years old. Poor health had driven eight people to suicide before the lockdown.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP, headquarters) Akhil Chaudhary said work-life imbalance and the paradox between expectation and reality led to suicidal tendencies. “The police try to investigate all suicide cases reported in the city to establish the reason behind the victims taking the extreme step,” he said.
“The pandemic-induced lockdown was difficult for people from all walks of life, but especially for those who lost their sources of income. The lockdown affected people from all age groups, whether psychologically, emotionally, physically or financially,” said Dr Nidhi Aggarwal, assistant professor, Christian Medical College and Hospital.
If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918