Although the city continues to top the suicide chart in the country, the good news is there has been a fall in the number of suicides in the past year. There is as yet no study of the decline but for those working to prevent suicides, it brings hope that better support structures would reduce the numbers further.

Studies by psychiatrists Lakshmi Vijayakumar and Vikram Patel have found that unlike in the past, more youngsters are attempting to take their life in India. Dr. Lakshmi said, “In the last 10 years, more suicides are found to occur in the younger age groups. While more women in the age group of below 25 years attempted suicide, men dominated the above-30-years group.”

Pressure from family and peer groups, inability to handle failure, low tolerance for frustration and poor understanding of how career and relationships develop, have all contributed to the increase in suicides, she said. It is for this reason that this year, the World Suicide Prevention Day, on September 10, will focus on students.

S. Rajarathinam, head of psychiatry, Government Kilpauk Medical College, said sometimes, youngsters attempt suicide on impulse but would avidly seek medical help too.

These experts say that it is important to provide support structures by being alert to warning signs. Some measures include restricting admission to hotspot areas and limiting access to alcohol.

In some countries, whenever copycat syndromes were noticed, the cases of suicide were not reported by media. Since there was no sensationalism attached to the act, the incidence also died down, Dr. Lakshmi said.

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