Global Suicide Rates Are On the Rise

Suicide prevention

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The Global Burden of Diseases data shows that 8 lakh people die every year due to suicide. India accounts for the largest number of such deaths at 2.3 lakh per year.


  • An estimated 8 lakh people commit suicide every year which accounts for 1 death every 40 seconds.
  • The report also gives an insight that for every successful suicide there are 20 failed attempts. This shows that suicide deaths are preventable if the distress is identified early and proper counseling sessions are provided.
  • More suicide deaths are noted in the age group of 15-29 years old. In fact, suicide is the second-largest killer in this age group.
  • While road injury is the largest killer for men in the age group, maternal mortality is the largest killer in women of this group.

Regional Spread

  • Europe tends to register the maximum number of deaths against a global average of 10.53 deaths due to suicide for 100,000 population.
  • Eastern Mediterranean region reports the lowest average.
  • Also, there are disparities within the region. For instance, both India and Pakistan are included in the south-east Asia region but Pakistan accounts for an average of 3 per 100000 population (in 2016) and India accounts for 18.5.


  • Mental disorders like depression and alcoho use have already been established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as reasons for suicide.
  • Crisis situation and an individual’s inability to cope with them has been identified as the reason for suicides in many cases.
  • WHO states that the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

Methods of Suicide

  • As per the data, 20% of suicides are due to pesticide poisoning. This points to the setting where the suicides occur. In low and middle-income countries it is in the rural agricultural areas.
  • Hanging and firearms are other common methods.

India Scenario

  • As per the data, 2.3 lakh suicide deaths s are reported every year in the country that is a person commits suicide every 4 minutes in the country.
  • In this regard, implanting National Suicide Prevention Strategy is the need of the hour.
  • A draft in this regard was submitted to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2018. It is yet to be approved.
  • It details ways on how to prevent suicide.
  • It outlines ways to prevent access to means of suicide. For example, it calls for banning pesticides and safer storage of pesticides.
  • The strategy also calls for reducing alcohol availability and consumption for reduced suicide rates.
  • Also, it calls for selective intervention such as reaching to those at risk through crisis lines, implementing school mental health programmes, training gatekeepers etc.
  • For those who have already attempted suicide, the strategy calls for indicative intervention for 18 months. This will reduce the chances of re-attempting.


Youth and women are vulnerable groups who attempt suicide. Preventing domestic violence, empowering women and women education will help reduce suicides in women. For youth, improving their resilience through life skills and health-seeking behaviour will help.

the support system of the family plays a crucial role in preventing suicide. Parents should not put unnecessary pressure on children with their expectations. Also, our society as a whole must be more empathetic to prevent suicides.

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