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One Suicide Every 5 Minutes In India: Here Are 6 Things You Can Do To Help

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By Ayushi Vig:

Suicide, like many other crises, is an issue many of us often find convenient to think of as something “other people” deal with. We like to think that we and the people we love are somehow safe from it, until we aren’t any more. After all, we are all “other people” to someone else.

Picture Credit: Ashley Rose
Picture Credit: Ashley Rose


Suicidal tendencies are caused by depression, and the majority of us will experience depression at some point in our lives. Suicidal tendencies, which affect people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds, are not as rare as we like to think, and neither is suicide. According to government statistics, over 100,000 people commit suicide every year in India. That’s an average of one person every five minutes. Over a third of these 100,000 are youth.

Clearly, suicide is not an issue anyone can afford to ignore. Yet, scarily enough, not enough of us know what we should do about it:

1. Severe depression can be quite identifiable. Common signs of severe depression include:

– An increased dependence on drugs and/or alcohol.
– Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.
– Change in sleeping and eating patterns (sleeping too much/too little or inability to sleep through the night, eating too much/too little), and in weight (significant loss/gain).
– Isolation from friends and family.
– Mood swings.
– Difficulties with attention and concentration, and poor performance at work or school.
– Depression can often manifest itself as irritation in young adults as well.
– A recent, major life incident such as death of a loved one, unemployment, etc.

It is important to note, however, that severe depression is a relatively long-term predicament, and should not be confused with simply a hard week.

2. Although some attempts at suicide are undeniably impulsive, the majority are planned well in advance. Warning signs include:

– Giving away personal belongings.
– Not making plans for the short-term future.
– Taking care of affairs, such as by paying off debts or changing a will.

3. If you suspect that someone you know is considering suicide, talk to them about it directly. You will not be giving them any new ideas. Direct confrontation is the only way to deal with the issue.

4. Studies done by the US government have shown that more than 70% of individuals with suicidal tendencies mention their plans of suicide to a close friend or relative, often in an offhand, casual manner. If someone does bring up such an idea with you, take it seriously.

5. So what should you do? In short, you need to help them get the help they need. Statements like “you have so much to live for” and “suicide is selfish” are not helpful statements to someone who is considering ending his or her life. Do not judge them; instead, let them talk it out. Feel free to tell them that you may not be able to understand how they feel, but are there for them. Most importantly, enable them to get professional help right away. Contact a suicide hotline, or any mental health professional in your area.

6. Always remember that you are capable of helping.

The numbers for India’s suicide hotlines can be found at

The pain of loss by suicide is often accompanied by the pain of regret. None of us want to look to the past and see the warning signs too late; none of us want an individual who deserves help to live a happy, healthy life to be unable to get it when we can give it to them. As human beings, it becomes our responsibility to help each other. So, stay alert, stay informed, and stay protective.

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    Student suicides are due to parental negligence. Parents do not give their children time, and at best, get a tutor for them, thus overburdening them in the process.

    The suicide statistics are underreported. According to The Hindu, 1,35,455, people committed suicide last year. Twice as many men ended their lives as compared to women – a man in India commits suicide every six minutes.

  2. Green Lantern

    Men are killing themselves left, right and center, and YKA posts a picture a woman curled up in bed.

    This blog is run by a group of sexist men-haters.

    1. Jyotsna

      Please go through this..

      this is also by YouthKiAwaz. Its you who is noticing the unnecessary things in blog like “sex of the person who is in picture” instead of understanding the real meaning behind the article.

      Kindly open up

  3. Sunanda

    I agree that taking up the issue of Suicide is very very important. However, I must say, as someone who has lost someone to suicide, it isn’t as clear cut or simple as this article is making it out to be… It isn’t always about depression and if it is, depression doesn’t always come out in those symptoms. Neither do suicidal tendencies.

    Most importantly, the article needs to make it clear that though it is possible to help someone who is depressed, it isn’t always possible to save someone who is suicidal. Just listening isn’t good enough sometimes. And sometimes, nothing is good enough. Why making this clear is important is to make your readers understand that though it is their duty to try and help someone, it isn’t their responsibility to save them…. A lot more damage happens to a lot more people than the person who attempts or commits suicide. It is VERY important to mention that the responsibility of saving someone’s life can NEVER be on any one person.

    It should also be mentioned that people who are suicidal need professional help along with the support of their loved ones.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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