Morbid as it may be, news reports on suicide always draw my attention. And I'm always shocked at just how different the phenomenon is in the U.S. and India.
Today HT, in "Girls are more prone to [suicide]" by Suchita Sharma, highlights some of these discrepancies. Though her article emphasizes gender dynamics -- whereas in the West men are about four times more likely to commit (not attempt) suicide than women, in India women commit ~55% of suicides (according to an AIIMS study of suicides among persons aged 10-18 in South Delhi) -- the report also contains a number that absolutely blew me away.
"Suicide rates were double for girls in Tamil Nadu as compared to boys, reported The Lancet in 2004. The study reported a high average suicide rate for girls in the 10-19 years age group [of] 148 per 1 lakh [100,000] populationcompared with 58 suicides per 1 lakh boys. Globally, the suicide rate is 6.8 per 1 lakh for women, and 24 per lakh for men.
Researchers at Vellore's Christian Medical College, where the study was done, insist that their findings are not 'a local aberration.' 'We suggest that reported rates of suicide in other parts of India are low because identification of suicides is difficult owing to inefficient civil registration systems, non-reporting of deaths, variable standards in certifying death, and the legal and social consequence of suicide.'"
I find it shocking that the incidence of suicide among young women in this case is more than 21 times that in the West; and, even if you discount the gender effect, suicide seems -- according to this study -- a much larger problem here, though it is not accorded the same sociological space as in the U.S. (which could be one reason for discrepancy, but what do I know).
Thoughts? Mountain out of a mole hill, or genuine problem?
If you or anyone you know (in India) is considering suicide or has mentioned wanting to die, please contact one of these SUICIDE HELPLINES.
Sumaitri Befrienders India: 23389090
Sanjeevani Society for Mental Health: 24311918 or 26864488
Naz Foundation (India) Trust: 26851970 or 26851971
Tulsi Rehab Centre: 9891006875