India is a country where more than one lakh lives are lost each year to suicide. In the last decade, the suicide rate has gone from 7.9 to 10.3 per 1,00,000. The number is continuously increasing as we wonder why there is no effect of the suicide prevention measures being taken by the Government of India.
We have a number of suicide helplines in our country (91-22-27546669). However, when these numbers are actually dialed, no one picks them up. Most of them go off ringing, others don’t exist. Upon inquiring, it emerges that some of the NGOs have either shut down or work only for a few hours each day. Consequently, if someone does call for assistance, they’re not provided with the help despite it being there.
India is grappling with major health and sanitation problems like malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality and the need for suicide prevention feels meagre in front of all this. Suicide control, which should ideally be an entirely different section for the ministry, is just another name under the list of health measures required by the people.
The mental health facilities for people of this country are falling short. For a billion people, there are only around 3,500 psychiatrists. Here, it should be noted that mental health issues are still a taboo in India. Visiting psychologists is not common and even associated with a stigma in less urban areas. The frustration and lack of help push people to contemplate the only option they think they have: suicide.
Rapid industrialization, emerging family institutions, and the rise of individualism is distressing people to which they seek external emotional help. This has led to the rise of NGOs, which are generally more approachable and less expensive than seeking psychologists. NGOs befriend suicidal individuals, provide them a home and even help raise general awareness about the issue in the society. However, they have certain limitations too. Majority of their endeavors are not evaluated and quality control isn’t really provided since there is a wide variability of the help they give.
Suicide in India is a multi faceted problem so the solution should also be multi dimensional. Awareness should be generated through social media because that is the area which targets the most numbers of young adults. Schools should hold regular counseling sessions and suicide prevention programs wherein imminent psychologists come in and speak about the value of life. Co operation, collaboration, commitment, and dedication are required to develop and implement a national plan, which is cost effective, appropriate and relevant. It is now time for proactive leaders to come and take over in order to save a thousand young lives.
Suicide is not a solution to any problem. Do you know some more ways through which suicide prevention measures can be made working in India? Let us know in the comment section below: