Last year, 2,438 cases of suicide were recorded in Chennai

Suicides can be prevented if people with the tendency are identified early enough — this is the message that has been sent out in the last decade by those working in the area of suicide prevention. Monday marks the 10th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day.

As recently as in June, an article in the premier medical journal Lancet revealed that details about suicides in the country as provided by National Crime Records Bureau were much lower than the study by a team of Indian researchers specifically to understand the situation.

The research study found that suicide death rates in India are among the highest in the world and 15,963 persons committed suicide in Tamil Nadu.

Researchers concluded that “a large proportion of adult suicide deaths occur between the ages of 15 and 29 years, especially in women.” However, “public health interventions might prevent many suicide deaths in India,” the report said.

According to Lakshmi Vijayakumar, who was part of the team that was involved in the Lancet study, the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s effort has become a movement and today every country organises awareness programmes. Puducherry recorded 44.8 per lakh suicides, followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sikkim, Chattisgarh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where the rate is 22.1 per lakh population, she said. The suicide rate is lowest in Bihar where it is 0.8 per lakh population. UP is second lowest with 2.4 suicides per lakh population, she explained.

City-based organisation SNEHA, working in the area of suicide prevention, launched the programmes on Sunday with a screening of a film at Elliots Beach.

Around 12 colleges besides corporate houses and organisations such as Rotary International and Lions Club have been included in the efforts to promote this year’s theme – ‘Suicide prevention across the globe: Strengthening protective factors and instilling hope’. Five nursing colleges and at least two private hospitals are also participating.

P.V. Shankar Narayanan, media coordinator of the organisation says in some private nursing colleges annual workshop on suicide prevention is part of the curriculum. SNEHA will conduct free programmes on identifying and coping with stress.

For details, call 24640050 or write to awareness@snehaindia.org.

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