Latest data released by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) has revealed that more than 1.39 lakh Indians died by suicide in the year 2019, 67 per cent of which were young adults.

More than 90,000 young adults died by in 2019 : NCRB report

More than 1.39 lakh Indians died by suicide in the year 2019, 67 per cent of which were young adults (18-45 years), shows the latest data released by National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB).

The NCRB report titled ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2019’, released recently shows that of the total 1.39 lakh 2019 suicides, 93,061 were young adults. Compared to 2018 numbers (89,407), youth suicides in India have risen by 4 per cent. The overall suicide figures rose by 3.4 per cent in the same time.

Hanging was found to be the most common method of attempting suicide. Around 74,629 people (53.6 per cent) hanged themselves in the year 2019.

On June 14 this year, Bollywood film star Sushant Singh Rajput was found hanging at his apartment in Bandra. Whether the celebrity died by suicide or not has been a mystery as the matter is still being investigated, however his demise shook the entire nation.

On August 23, a CBI team conducted a dummy test to verify the sequence of events that led to the actor’s hanging.

If Sushant’s death investigation did reveal a death by hanging, he will join the list of several other celebrities who died by suicide, including actress Jiah Khan who was also found hanging in her home in 2013.

What drives a person to suicide?

A detailed age-wise breakup of causes of suicides as provided by the NCRB report reveals that family issues, love affairs, drug abuse, mental illness appear as the top cause of suicide among the youth. According to the report, among people aged above 18 and below 45, family problems were the biggest reported cause of suicide.

Maharashtra topped the chart in the total number of suicides, while Karnataka was ahead of others in terms of suicides due to unemployment. This is the second time Karnataka registered the highest number of suicides in the country due to joblessness.

Top three states with highest suicide cases | Soham Sen | ThePrint

Top 5 states with highest suicides due to unemployment

The NCRB report showed that most number of suicides due to unemployment were reported from Karnataka, followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Gujarat.

While 553 people killed themselves in Karnataka, Maharashtra reported 452 deaths, followed by Jharkhand, which saw 232 deaths, Gujarat 219 deaths, Uttar Pradesh 156 deaths and Assam 155 deaths.

In 2018 as well, Karnataka and Maharashtra reported the maximum suicides due to unemployment with 464 and 394 deaths, respectively.

More male deaths than female

The overall male-female ratio among those who killed themselves in 2019 was 70.2 males to 29.8 females, which is more when compared to 2018 (68.5 males to 31.5 females), the report said.

Out of the total 97,613 male suicides, maximum were committed by daily wage earners (29,092) followed by self-employed persons (14,319) and then those who were unemployed (11,599), according to the report.

Also, most females committed suicides because of ‘marriage related issues’ (specifically dowry related), followed by ‘impotence and infertility’, the report said.

A total of 41,493 females committed suicides in 2019, out of which 21,359 were housewives, followed by students (4,772) and daily wage earners (3,467).

“A total of 17 transgenders have committed suicide. Out of the 17 transgenders, 4 each were unemployed and daily wage earners, 2 were self-employed and one was a student. Six fall under the ‘Other’ category,” the report said.

Data showed that 66.7 per cent (92,757 out of 1,39,123) of those who committed suicides were married, while 23.6 per cent were unmarried (32,852).

Moreover, 66.2 per cent (92,083) were having an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh, while 29.6 per cent (41,197) belonged to an annual income group of ‘Rs 1 lakh to less than Rs 5 lakh’.

Soham Sen | ThePrint
Soham Sen | ThePrint

Also read: Percentage of suicides by daily-wage laborers have nearly doubled between 2014 and 2018

Family problems led to 32.4% of the suicides’

According to the report, family problems and illness were found to be the major causes of suicides.

While 32.4 per cent of cases were related to family problems, 17.1 per cent were due to ill health.

Drug abuse and addiction amounted to 5.6 per cent of the suicides, marriage-related issues contributed to 5.5 per cent of the cases, love affairs gone wrong amounted to 4.5 per cent, bankruptcy or indebtedness amounted to 4.2 per cent, and failure in examination and unemployment each led to 2 per cent of the suicides.

Professional and career problems amounted to 1.2 per cent of cases and property dispute was the cause for 1.1 per cent of the suicides.

Maharashtra tops suicide charts

Majority of the suicides in 2019 were reported from Maharashtra — 18,916 cases, which amounts to 13.6 per cent of the total cases.

This was followed by 13,493 suicides in Tamil Nadu (9.7 per cent), 12,665 suicides in West Bengal (9.1 per cent), 12,457 suicides in Madhya Pradesh (9.0 per cent) and 11,288 suicides in Karnataka (8.1 per cent).

“These five states together accounted for 49.5 per cent of the total suicides reported in the country. The remaining 50.5 per cent suicides were reported in the remaining 24 states and 7 UTs,” the report said.

“Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state (with 16.9 per cent share of the country’s population) has reported comparatively lower percentage share of suicidal deaths, accounting for only 3.9 per cent of the total suicides reported in the country,” according to the report.

Among all the UTs, Delhi reported the highest number of suicides (2,526 deaths), followed by Puducherry (493 deaths). The remaining UTs together accounted for 2.2 per cent of the total suicides in the country.

Soham Sen | ThePrint
Soham Sen | ThePrint

Of the total 1.39 lakh suicides recorded in the year 2019, roughly 93,016 or 67 per cent were committed by youngsters (aged 18+ and below 45). Of these, 31,725 (34 per cent) suicides happened because of family problems, marriage related issues drove 7,293 (7.3 per cent) people to suicide. Mental illness was a cause of suicide for 6,491 people or 7 per cent of the total suicide committed by youngsters. Drug abuse/alcoholic addiction drove 5,257 (5.6 per cent) to die by suicide and love affairs drove 4,919 (5.2 per cent) people to kill themselves.

More importantly, the incidence of suicide due to family problems and mental illness is quite high in males.

According to the NCRB report, 71 per cent of those who died by suicide due to mental illness, 64 per cent who died by suicide due to family problems, 62 per cent of those who died by suicide due to love affairs and 98 per cent of those who committed suicide due to drug abuse and alcohol addiction were males.

The apparent reasons being reported for Sushant Singh’s alleged suicide are no less than what an ordinary person committing suicide would face otherwise. His break-up with co-star Ankita and then a love affair with Rhea Chakraborty is well known. It was also alleged that Sushant “used to smoke marijuana“.

Mental illness is medical illness

While it is being reported that Sushant was suffering from diseases of the mind, it’s worth noting the fact that mental illness also pushed roughly 6500 youngsters to suicide, almost an 8.5 per cent rise in the category from the preceding year, 2018.

Speaking to India Today TV, Dr Samir Parikh, a psychiatrist and the Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare said, “First of all we have to consider mental illness as a medical illness. We have to stop thinking that they can be faked, stop thinking that they are individual limitations or they are a matter of choice, all of this is rubbish.”

Dr Parikh also explained how mental illness, specifically depression and anxiety are faced by a majority of people worldwide.

“WHO says the single largest illness in the world is depression. 300 million+ people globally suffer from depression. 240 million+ people suffer from anxiety. We are more likely to suffer from mental illness than any other illness. For instance, if I have any other ailment, say diabetes or thyroid, if I do not consult a doctor, then my condition would deteriorate. So, if I am depressed, I have anxiety disorders, if I am on medications, if I don’t take them, naturally it won’t work. It’s no difference whether it is the physical illness of the body or the disease of the mind,” concludes Dr Parikh.