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Suicides in India

GS1/GS2 Paper 

 Syllabus: Indian Society

 

Source: TOI

 Context: The article discusses the alarming increase in student suicides in Kota, India, describing it as a “suicide cluster” that demands a public health approach.

  

What are Suicides?

Suicide refers to intentional acts where individuals cause their own death. A suicide cluster occurs when suicides, attempts, or self-harm events happen closer in time and space than expected, forming a pattern.

 

Example: In Kota, India, a suicide cluster mainly affects students preparing for exams in residential coaching centres. These clusters can lead to contagion, where one person’s suicide can trigger suicidal thoughts or attempts in others who are already vulnerable.

 

Reasons for Rising Student Suicide:

  • Social Stigma: not enough discussion about depression and suicides
  • Academic Pressure
  • Relationship breakdown.
  • Lack of adequate support: the ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ attitude (‘What will people say’) in Indian society is a permanent feature in the lives of competitive exam aspirants.
  • High expectations from Students.
  • Mental Issues:Anxiety disorder, depression, personality disorder.

 

Suicides among women in India

Women in India account for over one-third of global female suicide deaths. According to NCRB data, in the year 2021, over 45 thousand women died by suicide.

 

Several complex and interconnected factors contribute to this concerning issue of increasing female suicides

Factors Contributing to Female SuicidesDescription
Mental Health StigmaThe stigma around mental health can deter young women from seeking professional help.
Marital PressuresEarly and forced marriages, dysfunctional marriages, domestic abuse, and dowry harassment increase suicide risk.
HousewivesOver 50% of female suicides in India are among housewives (NCRB data).
Societal ContradictionsThe conflict between increasing female education and empowerment and persistent gender disparities.
Gender DiscriminationDisparities in access to education, employment, and decision-making lead to hopelessness and frustration.
Social Media and Peer PressureExposure to cyberbullying, revenge pornography, and peer pressure affects self-esteem and body image.
Educational StressHigh expectations from parents and society cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
Economic FactorsFinancial struggles, unemployment, and financial dependence, such as single mothers facing challenges.

Government steps taken:

InitiativeDescription
National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS)Aims to reduce suicides by 10% by 2030.
Suicide Surveillance SystemsTargeted at establishing effective suicide surveillance systems within the next three years.
Mental Health Outpatient ClinicsA goal under NSPS is to set up mental health outpatient clinics providing suicide prevention services within five years.
Helplines in Various StatesSeveral states (e.g., Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu) have launched suicide prevention helplines.
MANAS program in Maharashtra, strict law enforcement against dowry, child marriage, and forced marriages, and efforts by NGOs like Snehi and Vandrevala Foundation contribute to suicide prevention efforts.

For: “Student Cell”: For suicide prevention: Click Here

 

What more should be done?

ActionDescription
Implement a Response PlanDevelop and enforce a Suicide Cluster Response Plan involving surveillance, consistent information sharing between agencies, and support for those bereaved by suicide.
Media ResponsibilityEncourage media to report responsibly on suicides to prevent contagion.
Regular Monitoring and ReviewContinuously assess the effectiveness of the response and adapt strategies based on lessons learned.
Adopt Successful ModelsConsider adopting successful approaches like the Tomorrow Project in Nottingham, UK, which halted suicide contagion through community information, meetings, and clinical support.

Ethical Perspective of Suicide:

Ethical PerspectivesDescription
MoralistsSuicide prevention is a moral obligation. Philosophers like Kant argue that humanity should be considered an end in itself, and using oneself as a means to an end (suicide) is unacceptable.
Plato emphasizes obligations to society, making suicide inconsistent with the greater good.
Evident in countries like Singapore and India, where attempted suicide is punishable.
LibertariansSuicide can be a rational, carefully contemplated choice to avoid pain or suffering.
Value freedom of choice, considering the decision to die by suicide a right.
Reflected in countries where suicidal behaviour is decriminalized or euthanasia is legalized
RelativistsThe acceptability of suicide varies based on a cost-benefit analysis of situational, cultural, and contemporary variables.
The decision is influenced by individual, family, and societal needs at that moment
The analysis aims to maximize social utility, considering whether suicide benefits or harms society.

 

Conclusion

Indian society needs more comprehensive efforts to create a supportive environment for all irrespective of age, background and economic conditions in order to mitigate these preventable deaths by suicides.

 

Insta Links:

Preventing Student Suicides

  

Mains Links: 

Explain why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian Society (UPSC 2023)