Last year India witnessed the highest number of deaths by suicide — 1.64 lakh. And, these are only the reported deaths!
The stigma that is associated with suicide makes it even worse. As a result, large number of incidents remain unreported in our country. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the figure above presents an incomplete picture.
As per the latest NCRB report, daily wage labourers continue to be the most vulnerable population to suicide. Suicide rates among housewives and students are also on the rise. The COVID pandemic has further aggravated the situation for people across different age groups and professions.
Read more: Let’s face it, the virus has affected our minds and mental health too
A public health crisis
Suicide is a national crisis for us, and there’s a need to take this seriously. WHO says that each suicidal death is a public health concern with a profound impact on those around them. By raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world.
Read more: Mental illness a ticking time bomb, say experts
World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our stance to create a society that is sympathetic towards each other and normalizes the subject of mental health. At Citizen Matters, we take this opportunity to understand suicide as a national crisis, the various myths associated with it, issues with data collection, policy response, citizen engagement and the way forward. It is a massive challenge for us to bring these numbers down but it is doable!
About World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on September 10th every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.
The 10th of September each year 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 World Suicide Prevention Day 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.
To know more, visit: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-suicide-prevention-day
Join us as we speak to two experts on the different dimensions of this very critical issue: one, the policy framework and response and secondly, the importance of community support and engagement to prevent suicides.
We will be hosting the discussion on Twitter Spaces on September 8th from 7 PM to 8 PM with two eminent professionals: Dr Soumitra Pathare, Consultant psychiatrist, and Director of Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy, Pune and Jhilmil Breckenridge, poet, writer, activist and founder of The Bhor Foundation, a charity working on advocacy around issues of mental health and psychosocial disability.
How to Solve India’s Suicide Crisis
Citizen Matters’s Space · Where live audio conversations happen
Dr Soumitra Pathare
Soumitra is a consultant psychiatrist, and the Director of the Centre. In the past, he has provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in drafting India’s new Mental Health Care Act 2017, which takes a rights-based approach to mental healthcare. He was also a member of the Mental Health Policy Group appointed by Government of India to draft India’s first National Mental Health Policy released in October 2014. He has served as a WHO consultant in many low and middle-income countries (Botswana, Seychelles, Lesotho, Samoa, Vanuatu, Eritrea) assisting them in drafting and implementing mental health legislation and national mental health policy.
Dr. Soumitra tweets at @netshrink
Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer and activist. She is the founder of The Bhor Foundation, an Indian charity, which is active in mental health advocacy. She advocates Poetry as Therapy and is working on a few initiatives, both in the UK and India, taking this into prisons and hospitals. Her debut poetry collection, Reclamation Song, was published in May 2018 by Red River Press, India and in November 2019 by Verve Poetry Press, UK. A mental health anthology she co-edited, Side Effects of Living, was published in 2020 by Women Unlimited and Speaking Tiger Books. Her anthology collecting stories of survival from disabled and otherwise marginalised people, Feast On Your Life, is slated for publication in Spring 2023 through Speaking Tiger Books. She lives between New Delhi and Goa with her daughter, Tara, and her dogs, Noorie and Haider.
Jhilmil tweets at @jhilmilspirit
About Citizen Matters
Citizen Matters serves as a knowledge exchange with insightful reports on critical urban issues, ideas and solutions for cities, diving deep into issues which affect our quality of life, including water, commute, public safety, air quality, governance, education, environment, local economy and more. We bring together civic media, data and diverse voices to help citizens build sustainable, equitable and liveable cities. Visit: www.citizenmatters.in to know more.
Note: This event note and the discussion scheduled on Twitter Spaces talks/will talk about suicide and ways to prevent it. If this triggers distress, please reach out to a trusted source for help.
Some of the helplines you can call:
- Roshni Helpline: +91 4066202000
- Sneha Foundation India: +91 4424640050
- Sumaitri Helpline: 011-23389090
- The Samaritans Mumbai: 8422984528/29/30
- Connecting India: +91 9922001122
- Cooj: +91 8322252525
- Vandrevala Foundation: +91 1860-2662-345, 1800-2333-330
- Parivarthan: 080-6533-3323
- Saath: 079-2630-5544, 079-2630-0222
- iCall: 022-2552-1111
- Lifeline Foundation: 033-2463-7401, 033-2463-7432
- Aasra Suicide Prevention Hotline: (022)27546669.