About 8,00,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year, of these 1,35,000 (17%) are residents of India, according to 2015 data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). 8,934 (6.7% of all suicides) students committed suicide. That’s one student every hour. Despite being one of the most advanced states in India, Maharashtra has the highest number of student suicides with 1,230 of the 8,934 suicides occurring and Tamil Nadu has the second highest with 955.
381 suicide cases were reported every day in India in the year 2019, totalling 1,39,123 fatalities over the year. Over 70% of the total cases observed were male and almost 30% were female. If we see observe the data published by the NCRB, in 2019 about a 3.4% increase was observed in suicide cases compared to 2018.
In 2017 the total number of suicide cases reported was 1,29,887, which increased to 1,34,516 in 2018 and 1,39,123 in 2019. As per the report, the rate of increasing suicide cases recorded is 3–4% every year. Out of 97,613 male suicide cases, the maximum reported were of daily wages earners. 50% of the total female suicide victims were housewives.
From the report, we know that male victims are more compared to female. And about 29% of total male victims are daily wage earners; they may be a farmer or a shopkeeper. Out of total male victims, 14.66% are self-employed too. So, we may say that the maximum number of male victims died because of financial issues and they weren’t able to fulfil their daily needs.
Urban unemployment crept up to 9.83% in August 2020, according to the monthly unemployment report released by CMIE. Due to unemployment and under-employment, many people in India attempt suicide. About 11,599 of the male suicide victims were reported as unemployed in the year 2019. The maximum number of female suicide victims are housewives (about 50%).
If we classified the suicide victim’s basis on their education classes, it is clear that the number of literate suicide victims is much more compared to illiterate victims. The number of illiterate suicide victims is only 12.6%, but the number of suicide victims that passed out their matriculation level examination is 23.3%.
Of the total 1.39 lakh suicides recorded in the year 2019, roughly 67% were committed by young adults (18 to 45 years). From these, about 34% or 31,725 happened because of family problems. Marriage related issues drove about 7.3% of people to suicide. Mental illness became the reason for 7% of total suicides committed by youngsters in 2019. Drug and alcohol addiction drove about 5.6% to suicide and love affairs drove 4,919 or 5.2% to kill themselves.
A detailed age-wise breakup of causes of suicide as provided by the NCRB report reveals that family issues, love affairs, drug abuse and mental illness appear as the top cause of suicide among people aged above 18 and below 45. Family problems were the most significant reported cause of suicide among the youth.
Another important question about suicide cases is: how are they committed? Hanging was found to be the most common method for attempting suicide. Around 53.6% of total suicide victims hanged themselves in the year 2019, as stated by the NCRB report. Suicide by hanging, consuming poison, drowning and self-immolation were prominent means of committing suicides during the year. Nearly 68.4% of male victims were married, whereas, the ratio is 62.5% for female victims, as per data.
Majority suicides were reported in Maharashtra (18,916), followed by Tamil Nadu (13,493), West Bengal (12,657), Madhya Pradesh (12,457) and Karnataka (11,288).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that suicide is a serious public “health problem” and is “preventable” with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost intervention.