Home / News / Men account for 71% suicides in India

NEW DELHI: India has a high suicide rate, with around 71% male and 29% female accounting for total number of suicide deaths in the country in 2020, said the latest report prepared by health ministry on National Suicide Prevention Strategy. 

On a high youth population base, in the last 3 years, the suicide rate has increased from 10.2 to 11.3 per 100,000 population. 

The report stated that economic and professional status of an individual also a bearing on suicides. 

The maximum number of suicides accounting for 63.3% occurred among those who earn less than 1 lakh per annum, followed by 32% suicides among those who earned between 1 lakh and 5 lakh per annum. 

While 3.8% of suicides were by those who earn 5-10 lakh per annum, and 1% suicides were reported for those earning more than 10 lakh per annum in 2020. Around 65% of suicides happened in 18-45 years of age, stated the report.

The report further sets a goal to reduce suicide mortality by 10% by 2030 which has been drafted in line with WHO’s South East Asia Regional Strategy on suicide prevention, indicating that more than one lakh lives are lost every year to suicide in our country.

As a strategy to prevent suicide, the report aims to establish effective surveillance mechanism to check suicide within next 3 years, by establishing psychiatric OPD in all districts in next 5 years. Also, the plan involves integrating mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutes in next 8 years.

Dr Rajesh Sagar, head of psychiatric department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), one of the authors of the report said, “The target is to reduce suicide by 10% by 2030 for which we have framed multi-prolonged strategy. The most important is that early identification of psychiatric illness and early treatment by 80-90%. Because the main problem with suicide is “hidden psychiatric morbidity. The mental health illness like depression, people are not able to identify and there is huge stigma associated with mental health illness. Life events play a major risk factor in suicide risk. For example- poverty, loss of job, unemployment, bankruptcy or indebtedness, love affairs, marriage related issues etc. "

Therefore, we have suggested several protective factors against suicide such as early primary treatment, psychological support, access to quality treatment, restrict access to means of suicides etc, he added.

“It has been noted that for one suicide cases, there are about 10-20 previous attempts of suicide. Therefore, previous suicide attempts are the major risk factors for future suicide attempts. The available data is for attempted suicides. However, attempted data could be even more than it. Therefore, we have to advocate for suicide prevention and de-stigmisation of mental health disorders," said Dr Sagar.

The report revealed that the most common method to suicide is handing and poisoning. They account for over 80% of all suicides followed by drowning and immolation.

Globally, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the youth population. In India, India’s contribution to the global suicides increased from 25.3% in 1990 to 36.6% in 2016 among women with one in three women dying from suicide across the world, is from India while in men, the suicide rate has increased from 18.7% to 24.3% as one in four men dying from suicide across the world, is from India.


Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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