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Suicide in India

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Title: Suicide in India  
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Suicide in India

India's suicide rate per 100,000 people compared to other countries, according to the World Health Organization, Geneva. Peeter Värnik[1] claims China, India, Russia, USA, Japan, and South Korea are the biggest contributors to the absolute number of suicides in the world. Värnik claims India's adjusted annual suicide rate is 10.5 per 100,000, while the suicide rate for the world as a whole is 11.6 per 100,000.

About 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year,[2] of these 135,000 (17%) are residents of India,[3] a nation with 17.5% of world population. Between 1987 to 2007, the suicide rate increased from 7.9 to 10.3 per 100,000,[4] with higher suicide rates in southern and eastern states of India.[5] In 2012, Tamil Nadu (12.5% of all suicides), Maharashtra (11.9%) and West Bengal (11.0%) had the highest proportion of suicides.[3] Among large population states, Tamil Nadu and Kerala had the highest suicide rates per 100,000 people in 2012. The male to female suicide ratio has been about 2:1.[3]

Estimates for number of suicides in India vary. For example, one study projected 187,000 suicides in India in 2010,[6] while official data by the Government of India claims 134,600 suicides in 2010.[3]


  • Definition 1
  • Statistics 2
    • Regional trends 2.1
    • Age and suicide in India 2.2
    • Methods of suicide in India 2.3
    • Literacy 2.4
    • Suicide in cities 2.5
    • Gender 2.6
  • Reasons 3
  • Dynamics 4
    • Domestic violence and suicide in India 4.1
    • Suicide motivated by politics 4.2
    • Farmer's suicide in India 4.3
  • Prevention policies 5
    • Three pronged attack for suicide prevention 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The Government of India classifies a death as suicide if it meets the following three criteria:[7]

  • it is an unnatural death,
  • the intent to die originated within the person,
  • there is a reason for the person to end his or her life. The reason may have been specified in a suicide note or unspecified.

If one of these criterion is not met, the death may be classified as death because of illness, murder or in another statistical category.


Regional trends

The southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu along with eastern state of West Bengal, Tripura and Mizoram have a suicide rate of greater than 16 while in the Northern States of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the suicide rate is less than 4.[3] Puducherry reported the highest suicide rate at 36.8 per 100,000 people, followed by Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The lowest suicide rates were reported in Bihar (0.8 per 100,000), followed by Nagaland, then Manipur.[7]

Age and suicide in India

In India, about 46,000 suicides occurred each in 15-29 and 30-44 age groups in 2012 - or about 34% each of all suicides.[3]

Methods of suicide in India

Poisoning (33%), hanging (31%) and self-immolation (9%) were the primary methods used to commit suicide in 2012.[3]


80% of the suicide victims were literate, higher than the national average literacy rate of 74%.[7]

Suicide in cities

There were 19,120 suicides in India's largest 53 cities. In the year 2012, Chennai reported the highest total number of suicides at 2,183, followed by Bengaluru (1,989), Delhi (1,397) and Mumbai (1,296). Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) followed by Kollam (Kerala) reported the highest rate of suicides 45.1 and 40.5 per 100,000 people respectively, about 4 times higher than national average rate.[7] There is a wide variation in suicide rates, year to year, among Indian cities.


On average, males suicide rate is twice that of females in India. However, there is a wide variation in this ratio at the regional level. West Bengal reported 6,277 female suicides, the highest amongst all states of India, and a ratio of male to female suicides at 4:3.[7]


In 2012, family problems and illness were the two major reasons for suicides, together accounting for 46% of all suicides. Drug abuse / addiction (3.3%), love affairs (3.2%), bankruptcy or sudden change in economic status (2.0%), poverty (1.9%) and dowry dispute (1.6%) were the other causes of suicides.[3]


Domestic violence and suicide in India

Domestic violence is a major risk factor for suicide in a study in Bangalore.[8][9] However, as a fraction of total suicides, violence against women - such as domestic violence, rape, incest and dowry - accounted for less than 4% of total suicides.[3]

Suicide motivated by politics

Suicides motivated by ideology doubled between 2006 and 2008.[5]

Farmer's suicide in India

India's economy vastly depends on agriculture with around 60% of its people directly or indirectly depend upon it. Different reasons like droughts, lack of better prices, exploitation by Middlemen, inability to pay loans etc. lead a large number of Indian farmers to series of suicides.

Men in India have higher number of suicides than women in India[10]

Prevention policies

Three pronged attack for suicide prevention

A three pronged attack to combat suicide suggested in a 2003 monograph was (1) reducing social isolation, (2) preventing social disintegration, and (3) treating mental disorders.[11] (4) Banning of pesticides & ropes [11]

Additionally, a set of state led policies are being enforced to decrease the high suicide rate among farmers of Karnataka[12]

See also


  1. ^ Peeter Värnik, Suicide in the World, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 760-771
  2. ^ Suicide prevention (SUPRE) World Health Organization (2012)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Suicides in India The Registrar General of India, Government of India (2012)
  4. ^ Vijaykumar L. (2007), Suicide and its prevention: The urgent need in India, Indian J Psychiatry;49:81-84,
  5. ^ a b Polgreen, Lydia (March 30, 2010). "Suicides, Some for Separatist Cause, Jolt India".  
  6. ^ Patel, V.; Ramasundarahettige, C.; Vijayakumar, L.; Thakur, J. S.; Gajalakshmi, V.; Gururaj, G.; Suraweera, W.; Jha, P. (2012). "Suicide mortality in India: A nationally representative survey". The Lancet 379 (9834): 2343.  
  7. ^ a b c d e ADSI 2012 Annual Report Glossary, Government of India
  8. ^ Gururaj G, Isaac M, Subhakrishna DK, Ranjani R., (2004), Risk factors for completed suicides: A case-control study from Bangalore, India, Inj Control Saf Promot, 11:183-91.
  9. ^ Deshpande, R S (2009), Agrarian Transition and Farmers’ Distress in Karnataka. In D. Narasimha Reddy and Srijit Mishra (eds.) ‘Agrarian Crisis in India’. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Singh A.R., Singh S.A. (2003), Towards a suicide free society: identify suicide prevention as public health policy, Mens Sana Monographs, II:2, p3-16. [cited 2011 Mar 7]
  12. ^ Deshpande, R S (2002), Suicide by Farmers in Karnataka: Agrarian Distress and Possible Alleviatory Steps, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 37 No 25, pp2601-10

External links

  • Singh A.R., Singh S.A. (2003), Towards a suicide free society: identify suicide prevention as public health policy, Mens Sana Monographs, II:2, p3-16.
  • Vijaykumar L. (2007), Suicide and its prevention: The urgent need in India, Indian J Psychiatry;49:81-84.
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