Why Bangalore is the Suicide capital of India?
By dhanushag | Published: February 24 2010
Bangalore has a nefarious reputation for being the suicide capital of India. MyBangalore probes into this disturbing issue to figure out why.
Suicide Fact - Out of every three cases of suicide reported every 15 minutes in India, one is committed by a youth in the age group of 15 to 29.
- In the Union Territory of Pondicherry, every month at least 15 youths between the ages of 15 and 25 commit suicide.
- In 2002, there were 10, 934 cases of suicide in Karnataka.
- In 2003, the largest number of farmers -- around 175 -- committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh.
- Kerala, the country's first fully literate state, has the one of the highest number of suicides. Some 32 people commit suicide in Kerala every day.
- Southern India is the country's information technology hub and it is competing with northern India to become the country's economic powerhouse. South India accounts for the world's largest number of suicides by young people, according to The Lancet, a British medical journal.
Some 50,000 people in the four states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and the Union Territory of Pondicherry kill themselves every year. This statistic becomes even more alarming when you consider that the total number of suicide cases recorded in the whole of India in 2002 was 154,000. Experts put forward various reasons for the dismal state of mental health among people in the South.
Psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the city say the reason for such startling figures and the term 'acute stress factors,' are:
- Family conflicts, domestic violence, academic failures, and unfulfilled romantic ideals.
- Voracious appetite for high-end consumer goods spurred by moneylenders and hire-purchase schemes.
- The wide gap between people's aspirations and actual capabilities.
- The disintegration of traditional social support mechanisms as was prevalent in joint families.
- Emergence of a trend towards nuclear families, alcohol abuse, financial instability and family dysfunction.
- A growing population of the aged.
Two years ago, the National Crime Records Bureau noted that out of every three cases of suicide reported every 15 minutes in the country, one involves a youth in the age group of 15 to 29. Psychologist Mathew Kurien of the Southern Medical Centre, Bangalore, said "children are not brought up peacefully. They are under pressure to deliver at school; they are under pressure to appear for competitive examinations. After they reach puberty, no one in the family gives them any advice about the meaning of life." Bangalore’s suicide numbers rang further shame when one of the employees at Wipro committed suicide recently.
Anoop Agarwal, the employee allegedly responsible for a $4 million fraud at Wipro, committed suicide recently. Since then, Wipro has since disbanded its controllership unit and six employees are said to have been sacked for negligence.
Recognizing the need for attention, SAHAI, Bangalore’s first telephone helpline for people in emotional distress was started on 2nd Oct 2002. Dedicated, trained volunteer counsellors are available to answer distress calls between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m., from Monday through to Saturday.
The Help Line number is 080 – 25497777.
Speaking to Lata Jacob, the Clinical Manager of the Medico Pastoral Association said, “Sahai helpline is part of the services provided by the Medico Pastoral Association (MPA), which is a centre for mental health care. Its inception in 2002 was supported by the Rotary Bangalore East and NIMHANS. It is now operated by trained volunteers and its administration is being provided by the MPA.” She added, “We do not give out advice. Our callers want to be heard, be understood, so our first line of response is to acknowledge our presence and our availability to hear and be of assistance. Yes certainly, listening does help people feel better but it reveals to the speaker that he/she is important, that what he/she says is also important. The message of being understood is conveyed through listening”
Sahai follows through to active intervention with the help of family members, friends, people trusted by the sharer. Though, currently they do not have the infrastructure to provide crisis care. Speaking on how she personally got involved with Sahai, Jacob said, “I was the Administrator of the Medico Pastoral Association when Sahai was first conceptualised. Thereafter, setting up the helpline, organising the training for the volunteers, identifying the first batch of volunteers to person the helpline was part of my tasks. Today as the Clinical Manager of the MPA I am responsible for the programmes, and Sahai helpline is our channel to the society to be of help to those who need support.”
For people who wish to volunteer at Sahai Helpline will have to go through a 36 hours (theoretical and practical) training in order to volunteer at Sahai helpline.
The Help Line number is 080 – 25497777.