All is not well in Indian families, as household problems are increasingly pushing people to the edge, accounting for about 32 per cent of the 1,64,033 reported suicides in 2021.

The latest data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows a 7.2 per cent increase in suicides in 2021, compared with 2020

Family problems and illness were the major causes of suicides, accounting for 33.2 per cent and 18.6 per cent, respectively, in 2021. Drug abuse and/or alcoholic addiction (6.4 per cent), marriage-related issues (4.8 per cent), love affairs (4.6 per cent), bankruptcy or indebtedness (3.9 per cent), unemployment (2.2 per cent), failure in examination (one per cent), and professional or career problem (1.6 per cent) are some of the other reasons pushing people to take their lives. Nearly 1.1 per cent ended their lives because of poverty.

Distress signals

For every 72 male victims, there were 27 female victims of suicide. The proportion of female victims was higher under ‘marriage-related issues’ (specifically dowry-related), and impotency or infertility.

Nearly 66.9 per cent (1,09,749) of the suicide victims were married. Widowed, divorced and separated individuals accounted for 1.5 per cent, 0.5 per cent, and 0.5 per cent of suicide victims, respectively, in 2021. 

About 64.2 per cent (1,05,242) of suicide victims had annual income less than ₹1 lakh, while 31.6 per cent annually earned ₹1-5 lakh.

Leading causes state-wise

According to the data, of the 4,033 suicides reported in Odisha, 71 per cent were due to family problems. In Tripura, too, family troubles accounted for 71 per cent of suicides, while in Kerala it was 48 per cent, followed by Himachal Pradesh (47 per cent), Telangana ( 44 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (43 per cent).

Though Maharashtra reported the highest number of suicides (22,207) countrywide in 2021, the percentage due to family problems was the lowest ( 34.5 per cent) here.    

Punjab and Sikkim top in suicides due to illness at 45 per cent each.