Why deaths by suicide are rising worldwide
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, who was once the First Lady of the US. We must prevent our faith in the beauty of our dreams from being shaken. This is the only way to save us all
It had been a rainy evening, and the downpour had soaked all of us deep inside. While this was going on, my friend’s literary and vivacious wife began to say, “How hypocritical are people here that they term suicide as an act of cowardice. How can people who put up with pain caused by their own actions be labelled cowards? For this, a lot of courage is required.” Her remark reminded me of the National Crime Records Bureau’s most recent report. The number of suicides in India has increased by 7.2% in the most recent year, i.e. 2021. During this time, more than 164,000 suicide cases were reported. The number of suicides has increased since 1967.
Were the people who died by suicide bravehearts?
A careful examination of the data reveals that this argument has no foundation at all. It is true that every human being has a proclivity for self-harm. According to the data, the number of men forced to end their lives due to financial difficulties has seen an unprecedented increase. Daily wage workers make up the majority of this group. This category accounted for more than a quarter of all suicides.
Not only that, suicidal tendencies have increased in people who want to achieve financial affluence through self-employment. This category accounts for 12.3% of the total cases, which is an astounding figure. Domestic violence and discord, too, have emerged as leading causes of suicide. Is the concept of a nuclear family destroying marriages?
Many sociologists agree that India has done an excellent job of eradicating poverty since 1991, but along with it there has also been a significant increase in aspirations. Since the agricultural system was unable to feed the large population of our villages, people were forced to migrate at an alarming rate to cities and metropolises for jobs. This continuous cycle upends the “value system” of a large segment of the population. This is also a major cause of the rise in depression. In mid-2020, a survey conducted by health platform GOQII using cutting-edge smart technology discovered that 43% of Indians suffer from depression for various reasons.
Doesn’t this figure amaze you?
It’s no surprise that people in more affluent regions have a higher rate of suicide. Four metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru — alone accounted for 35% of all suicides in the country’s 53 major cities. A large number of people have migrated and live in these metropolises and their suburbs. It is also worth noting that, despite having fewer suicides this year, Delhi remained at the top.
The people of Delhi, if they so desire, can learn from this fact.
Is this something that is happening only in India? No, the situation is even worse in other countries. According to the most recent global statistics, the number of suicides has risen even in affluent countries such as Belgium, Japan, China, Sweden, South Korea and Russia. Though Sweden ranks seventh in the Happiness Index, there are numerous suicides there. One reason for this is the statutory right to euthanasia for patients suffering from incurable diseases.
You might be surprised to learn that people from war-torn countries such as South Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria and Iraq are proving to be more resilient. They are in a better position than countries considered more developed and peaceful. Afghanistan ranks 146th on the Happiness Index, but there have been very few suicides there. However, terrorist groups there, on the other hand, believe in forming youth suicide squads.
This question may arise in your mind: If a large number of people on earth have the proclivity to destroy their own lives, why don’t governments devise measures to prevent this? According to a World Health Organization report, only 38 countries have arrangements in place to fight this disorder.
Just one more thing. The clouds of recession are gathering once more in the United States (US). As a result, sociologists have begun to be concerned about a new wave of suicide cases on this continent. As was the case after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008. As a result, there was widespread mistrust in the economy. Its negative impact was felt all over the world. According to one study, more than 10,000 people in Europe and the US died by suicide during that time period due to economic deprivation.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” said Eleanor Roosevelt, who was once the First Lady of the US. We must prevent our faith in the beauty of our dreams from being shaken. This is the only way to save us all.
Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, HindustanThe views expressed are personal