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Kerala records fifth highest rate of suicides, higher than all-India rate

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on September 09, 2021

Covid-19 pandemic major cause for rising rate of depression, anxiety and stress

Kerala reported the fifth highest rate of suicides in the country in 2019 (24.3 per cent), which was significantly higher than the all-India rate (10.2 per cent). The worrying trend has only been gaining further momentum, especially during Covid times, says the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2019.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization, nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year. India tops the south-east Asian countries in the rates of suicides.

World Suicide Prevention Day

In a bid to raise global awareness on suicide and to renew worldwide commitment to prevent suicides, World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to focus on building mental resilience. This year the theme for the day is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. It aims to empower individuals to prevent suicides by reaching out to those who are struggling and instilling hope in them.

Kathleen Anne Mathew, Senior Resident, Psychiatry & Behaviour Medicine, Amrita Hospitals, said, “A study conducted by the International Journal of Mental Health Systems which examined suicidal behaviour during Covid-19 lockdown in India found a 67.7 per cent increase in online news media reports of suicidal behaviour.

As per the study, there were 369 cases of suicides and attempted suicides during this period against 220 reported suicides in the corresponding dates in 2019. In 2019, the suicides reported during the lockdown were by significantly older individuals who were more likely to be between the ages of 31 and 50. A larger number of these suicides were by men.

Also see: Languishing, burnout and stigma are all among the possible psychological impacts as Delta lingers in the community

Talking about how hope and care can prevent a person from dying by suicide, Mathew said, “Covid pandemic has been a major cause for rising rates of depression, anxiety and stress among the masses. Many have lost their means of livelihood as part of lockdown restrictions mandating closing down of shops and other establishments. Social isolation measures have led to individuals being with their partners for a prolonged duration due to which families with pre-existing marital discord are witnessing intimate partner violence, and some related suicide deaths. The elderly, many of whom stay alone, with chronic medical conditions, suffer from loneliness, fear of contracting Covid -19 infection and inadequate domestic support. Social stigma and fear of infecting close family members have been factors implicated in suicides in Covid-affected individuals. Psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and substance use disorders are associated with high suicidal risk.”

Published on September 09, 2021

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