IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


9th April, 2024 Social Issues


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  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports that 1.71 lakh people died by suicide in 2022.

Suicide in India

Statistics and Trends

  • India's alarming suicide rates: India holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest number of suicides globally. In 2022 alone, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 1.71 lakh suicides, marking a significant increase in the suicide rate, which reached 12.4 per 1,00,000—the highest ever recorded in the country.
  • Underestimation of figures: Despite these staggering numbers, it's acknowledged that the actual figures might be higher due to various factors such as inadequate registration systems, lack of medical certification of death, stigma, and other barriers.
  • Impact on young demographics: Disturbingly, 41% of all suicides occur among individuals below the age of 30, making suicide the leading cause of mortality for young women in India. A young Indian die by suicide every eight minutes, emphasizing the profound loss to families, society, and the nation's future.

Complexity of Suicide

  • Multifaceted nature: Suicide is not a singular phenomenon with a simple cause but rather a complex interplay of biological, psychological, familial, and sociocultural factors.
  • Interaction of various factors: Understanding youth suicide requires recognizing the interaction between multiple factors, including mental health issues, family dynamics, academic pressures, social influences, and economic hardships.
  • Common risk factors: Recent reviews of adolescent suicides in India highlight prevalent risk factors such as mental health problems, negative family experiences, academic stress, societal expectations, violence, economic instability, and relationship issues.

Factors Contributing to Youth Suicide

  • Mental health issues: Mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders, are frequently cited as underlying factors in youth suicides.
  • Family problems: Dysfunctional family dynamics, domestic violence, parental pressures, and intergenerational conflicts contribute significantly to the vulnerability of young individuals.
  • Academic stress: The intense pressure to excel academically, coupled with a rigid education system and societal expectations, leads many students to extreme stress and despair.
  • Sociocultural factors for young girls and women: Gender-specific challenges such as early marriage, domestic violence, economic dependence, and societal discrimination exacerbate the risk of suicide among young females.

Role of External Influences

  • Substance use and addiction: Alcohol and substance abuse are recognized risk factors for youth suicides, exacerbating existing mental health issues and impairing decision-making abilities.
  • Impact of Internet and social media: The proliferation of internet usage, particularly among young demographics, has introduced new challenges, including cyberbullying, addiction to social media, and exposure to harmful online content, all of which contribute to suicidal ideation.
  • Influence of media portrayal: Sensationalized media coverage of suicides, especially those involving celebrities, can trigger copycat behavior and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities among susceptible individuals.

Solutions and Interventions

  • Problem-solving and emotional regulation skills: Equipping young people with effective coping mechanisms, problem-solving skills, and emotional regulation techniques can help them navigate through life's challenges more effectively.
  • Early identification of mental distress: Implementing proactive measures to identify and address mental health issues early on is crucial in preventing suicidal behavior among youth.
  • Creating a youth-friendly environment: Establishing supportive and inclusive environments within families, schools, and communities where young individuals feel comfortable seeking help and support is essential.
  • Lifestyle improvements: Promoting healthy lifestyle choices, including balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, and responsible internet usage, can significantly improve mental well-being and reduce the risk of suicide.
  • Family environment enhancement: Addressing issues such as domestic violence, alcoholism, and economic instability within families can create a safer and more nurturing environment for young individuals.
  • Educational reforms: Reforming the education system to reduce academic pressure, emphasize holistic development, and provide alternative assessment methods can alleviate stress and promote mental well-being among students.
  • Societal changes: Challenging societal norms, reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues, and fostering inclusivity and acceptance can create a more supportive and understanding society for young individuals.

National Suicide Prevention Strategy

  • Formation and objectives: The Ministry of Health's initiative to develop a National Suicide Prevention Strategy underscores the government's recognition of the urgent need to address the issue comprehensively.
  • Collaborative approach: Recognizing the multifaceted nature of suicide, the strategy emphasizes collaboration between various ministries, including Health, Education, Information and Broadcasting, and Social Welfare.
  • Focus on educational institutions and youth organizations: Leveraging the influence of educational institutions and youth organizations to promote mental health awareness, reduce substance abuse, and foster supportive networks among young individuals.
  • Need for dissemination and implementation: The successful implementation of the strategy requires widespread dissemination to all states and stakeholders, along with adequate budgetary allocations and concerted efforts at the state, district, and community levels.



Q. Discuss the significant societal and psychological factors contributing to the prevalence of youth suicide in India. Evaluate the effectiveness of current suicide prevention measures and propose innovative strategies to address this pressing public health issue.