According to reports published by the National Crime Records Bureau, more than one lakh suicides are committed in India in one year. We do not tend to realize that the problem of taking one’s own life is a grave social issue which India is battling with since long. As per section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, attempt to suicide is a punishable offence but can an individual reckon with the law of the land under circumstances so precarious that he or she decides to end his or her own life?
India reported about 381 suicides daily in the year 2019, which marked an increase of nearly 3.4% suicide deaths across the country as compared to 2018. A total of 139,123 suicides were reported in the year 2019 while 2018 saw 134,516 people ending their own lives. While 2017 was marked by 129,887 fatalities. A crucial inference to be made here is that the numbers were more or less same in during the years discussed above.
As far as the 139,123 suicides are concerned, 92,757 were people who were married which amounts to 66.7% of the total, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
Shockingly, only five states contributed to roughly 50% of the suicides. These are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka with Maharashtra recording nearly 18,916 cases in 2019. It was observed that around 55% of the suicides were due to marriage related issues (5.5%), family problems (32.4%), illness (17.1%), while nearly 53.6% suicides were committed via hanging.
This is not all. In 2019 itself, at least one student committed suicide every hour in India. The year recorded the highest number of student suicides, 10,335, in the past 25 years for which data is available. Between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2019, our country lost more than 1.7 lakh students to suicide.
The data shared above is testimony to the horrifying reality which is embodied by India. But what are the pressures, the reasons due to which an individual feels completely cornered and under what circumstances do people think that ending their own lives is the only solution?
The major reasons which take a toll on the lives of individuals are illness, dowry dispute, drug abuse and addiction, flunking examinations, family problems, problems arising in love affairs, persistent poverty, unemployment, the trauma of losing a dear one, one’s dwindling social reputation, or a sudden change in someone’s economic status and bankruptcy.
In the case of students committing suicide the most common reasons are depression, mental health issues and addiction to narcotic substances.
The data is scary and the reasons behind the fatalities, scarier. But how do we fight a nemesis which is not conspicuous enough and yet has a deep- rooted existence all over the country? How do we discern the sorrow or chaos of one’s mind with the smile pasted on his or her face or his or her pretense which proves everything to be hunky dory?
The most important thing is to pay heed to and understand that the sinister evil of depression or an unhealthy emotional status is something which can take hold of anyone’s mind. We cannot ignore the high rate of suicides being committed in India only because someone who is no more was not our relative, friend, acquaintance, or romantic partner. What is crucial is to have empathy. Stepping into others’ shoes to try and understand what the other person feels is what keeps our humanity alive. The virtue of being empathetic is what keeps us high on the scale of inter- personal skills.
Second, do not shy away from sharing your emotional condition or the stress you endure. Do not let the pressures take a toll on your mental and physical health. Thus, it is important to engage in regular dialogue with people you know, love and trust. Talk to your parents if you are upset about scoring low marks in the last class test, talk to your friend if you need to boost your confidence and happiness levels after a bad break- up.
On a similar note, everyone should keep in mind that ‘talking’ is a two- way process. Not always does one feel to share and talk openly about the plight they suffer. Hence, it is important to keep a check on your loved ones. Sharing one’s own experiences and feelings should always go hand in hand with observing, asking, and listening to others. If you determine a change in the behaviour of your child, your sibling, your friend, or anyone else you know and care about, ASK. Ask them about their well- being and whether everything is okay. Coax them to spill the beans but do not let them conceal the way they feel.
Not only parents but educational institutions should lay utmost emphasis on mental health and happiness rather than the marks scored by children. You need to understand that your child’s or student’s report card is not and can never be more important than their life. Regular counseling sessions should be organized in schools and colleges and a friendly and healthy environment should be maintained. The subject of psychology should find greater prominence in the school and college syllabi; haplessly this crucial subject does not find a worthy place in most of Indian institutions. Studying psychology helps one to dive deeper into the ocean of his or her psyche and this in turn helps one to have a healthy mind and body.
And finally, as individual beings all of us ought to love ourselves and do things which make us happy and feel content. Every one of us needs to remember, quitting is never the answer. We should never undermine our worth and importance. Cry, throw tantrums, roam around with a grumpy face, do try every coping mechanism under the sun, go to a psychologist if needed but do not ever think of ending your own life. Remember, nothing in life is permanent. If joy is transient so is sorrow, life can never be easy at every moment, how we face and fight all the problems determines our strength. Suicide is NEVER an option, dying is easy but the plight of each one of the person who loses a loved one is beyond imaginable. The moment you feel like taking your own life, take a pause and think about all the people you will leave behind, crying and shattered. DON’T BE SELFISH, LIVE YOUR LIFE. Stumble, fall and rise but do not QUIT!
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