New Delhi

High suicide mortality in India has become a growing concern. In 2021, the suicidal death rate (SDR) among men stood at 34.6%, compared to women’s 13.1%. This was revealed in a recent study by The Lancet, titled “Changing Pattern of Suicide Deaths in India,” which studied Indian suicide rates using sociodemographic datasets.

The Lancet used National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) reports on suicide deaths from 2014 to 2021 to conduct this study. It also pointed out the underreporting of suicide deaths in the NCRB compared to the Global Burden of Disease.

Also Read | Is economic distress causing a spike in suicide deaths in India?

Unemployment, the most evident aftereffect of COVID-19, was the biggest driver behind SDR among both men (48.2%) and women (27.8%). Family problems and health issues followed the list, increasing the male-to-female ratio of suicides from 1.9 and 2.5 to 2.4 and 3.2, respectively, during 2014-2021. 

The most common age range for male suicide casualties was 18-29, 30-44, 45-59, and 18-29 for female suicide deaths.


The research discovered an upward increase in suicide fatalities among females with education levels higher than class 6 compared to those with no education. According to the study, there has been a slight increase in suicides among never-married women but a slight decrease among married women.

Overall, the sociodemographic profile of suicide deaths among Indian women did not alter much.

Also Read | Family worries trigger 32% of suicides in India


A thorough analysis of NCRB data found that there was a variation in the characteristic pattern of suicide deaths among men, unlike in the case of women. Daily wage earners show a surge of 170.7% in suicide deaths among men between 2014 and 2021, resulting in a SDR of 34.6 among men against 13.1 among women in 2021. While women across all education levels witnessed a decline in suicide deaths, men’s suicide mortality increased at all educational levels. The SDR among currently married men (24.3) was three times that of currently married women (8.4).

The report suggested intervention strategies that focus on destigmatising and decriminalising suicide. Addressing the increasing SDR as a public health concern, it also called for the proper redressal of livelihood insecurities.