Family problems are the most common reason for deaths by suicide in India

Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
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Family issues are driving Indians the most towards death by suicide, resulting in 33% of all the reported cases in 2020. Physical and mental illnesses were the second most important factor, the latest government data show.

Up to 153,052 deaths by suicide were recorded in 2020 from across the country, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) numbers released on Oct. 29 by the government. Of these, 51,477 were a result of familial problems and 41,439 were due to illnesses.

The numbers for 2020 increased by close to 10% from the previous year when the country recorded 139,123 deaths by suicide.

Indian states with the maximum number of suicide deaths

The highest numbers were reported in the western state of Maharashtra. The Delhi national capital region topped among the centrally-administered union territories, with 3,142 cases.

The five states that recorded the highest numbers, together, accounted for slightly more than half—50.1%—of the national figure.

Suicide is an emerging and “serious public health issue in India,” the World Health Organization (WHO) has noted on its website. The most vulnerable groups in this category are the 15-to 29-year-olds, the elderly, and persons with special needs.

The global body said, “Policies limiting access to pesticides, firearms and putting barriers on bridges and railway platforms could be some of the preventive options. In addition, counselling services and creating destigmatised platforms for discussion around these taboo subjects could be considered.”