Karol Bagh | IAS GS Foundation Course | 29 May, 6 PM Call Us
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Social Issues

Suicidal Patterns in India

  • 18 Sep 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: World Suicide Prevention Day, International Association for Suicide Prevention, National Crime Records Bureau, Mental Healthcare Act (MHA), 2017, KIRAN Helpline, Manodarpan Initiative, National Suicide Prevention Strategy 2022

For Mains: Factors Contributing to the Problem of Suicide in India

Source: TH

Why in News?

Recently, World Suicide Prevention Day was observed serving a sobering reminder of the persistent problem of female suicide in India, especially among housewives.

  • Despite being an often-overlooked issue, housewives consistently rank among the top categories for suicide, with alarming numbers reported in recent years.

World Suicide Prevention Day

  • World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed on 10th September every year. It was established in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in conjunction with the WHO.
    • It focuses attention on the issue, reduces stigma and raises awareness among organizations, government, and the public, giving a singular message that suicide can be prevented.
  • “Creating hope through action” is the triennial theme for the WSPD from 2021 - 2023. This theme is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us.

What are the Challenges Faced by Housewives in India?

  • Recent Statistics: The National Crime Records Bureau reported that housewives accounted for 51.5% of female suicides in 2021.
    • Among the major states, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka featured at the top of this list.
    • Housewives also account for around 15% of all suicides, highlighting the magnitude of this issue.
  • Challenging Circumstances:
    • Limited Mobility: Many women in India face restrictions on their mobility, particularly in rural areas.
      • Societal norms and safety concerns often discourage them from traveling alone or venturing far from their homes.
      • This limited mobility can lead to feelings of isolation and helplessness.
    • Restricted Financial Autonomy: Economic dependence on their spouses or families can make women vulnerable to various forms of abuse. Lack of financial independence limits their ability to make choices and escape abusive situations.
    • Marital Control: Traditional gender roles and patriarchal norms in Indian society often result in women having little control over their lives, especially in the context of marriage.
      • Expectation that women should conform to the wishes of their husbands and in-laws can lead to feelings of powerlessness.
    • Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse: Domestic violence, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, is a significant problem in India. Many women endure these forms of abuse in silence due to stigma, fear of reprisal, or lack of support systems.
    • Reluctance to Seek Help: Societal stigma around discussing mental health issues and seeking help for them is widespread in India. Many women hesitate to seek external assistance or confide in others about their struggles, leading to a lack of access to mental health support.

What are the Other Factors Contributing to the Problem of Suicide in India?

  • Agricultural Distress and Farmer Suicides: India's agrarian economy faces numerous challenges, including erratic weather patterns, land degradation, and high input costs.
    • This has led to a significant number of farmer suicides due to debt burdens and crop failures.
    • In rural areas of India, access to lethal means like pesticides is relatively easy, and this contributes to a higher rate of impulsive suicides.
  • Educational Pressure: India's competitive education system places immense pressure on students to perform well academically.
    • The fear of failure and the high expectations of parents lead to mental health issues and suicides, with students feeling they have no way out.
  • Lack of Mental Health Services: Despite recent efforts to improve mental health services, there is still a shortage of mental health professionals and limited access to affordable mental healthcare, especially in rural areas.
    • It amplifies the mental health crisis in India and emerges as a paramount concern linked to the rise in suicides.
  • Family Pressure on LGBTQ+ Individuals: Many LGBTQIA+ individuals in India face severe discrimination and rejection from their families, leading to feelings of isolation and depression.
    • The lack of acceptance and support within families is a significant factor contributing to suicides in this community.
  • Cyberbullying: With the rise of technology and social media, cyberbullying has become a significant issue, particularly among young people. Online harassment and bullying can have severe consequences on mental health and lead to suicides.

What are the Recent Government Initiatives Related to Suicide Prevention?

Way Forward

  • Levering AI and Innovation to Empower Housewives: There is a need to introduce AI-powered skill development and job placement programs specifically designed for housewives who wish to enter or reenter the workforce.
    • AI can help identify skills and job opportunities that align with their interests and abilities.
    • These programs can provide training in various fields, such as remote work, freelancing, or part-time employment, allowing housewives to gain financial independence and a sense of purpose.
  • Improve Access to Mental Health Care: There is a need to increase the availability of mental health services, especially in rural and underserved areas, by building more mental health clinics and training more mental health professionals.
    • There is a need to integrate mental health services into primary healthcare to ensure early detection and intervention for mental health disorders.
  • Legislation and Regulation: There is a need to implement stricter regulations on the sale of pesticides, which are a common method of suicide in rural areas.
    • Also, enforcing laws against cyberbullying and online harassment can contribute to reduction in mental distress among young people.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question:


Q. Why suicide among young women is increasing in Indian society? (2023)

SMS Alerts
Share Page