Tamil Nadu has recorded the highest number of suicides by accounting for 12.5 per cent of the total cases reported in 2012. When it comes to specific issues like ‘love affairs’ and ‘failure in examination’ that led to suicides, the State has again topped in the south.
Among the metropolitan cities, Chennai topped others with 2,183 suicides closely followed by Bangalore with 1,989. Tamil Nadu is among the five States that have consistently registered higher number of suicides in the last few years.
While family problems, illness, poverty, unemployment and passion-related depression were among the major reasons for suicides, a new trend seemed to be emerging out of ideology causes/hero worshipping. The number of suicides due to this reason increased from 41 in 2011 to 176 the next year.
Statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reveal disturbing details of how thousands of people, including many senior citizens, minor children and youth took the extreme step. Of the 14,151 senior citizens and minors who committed suicide in 2012, at least 16 per cent belonged to Tamil Nadu.
The State also topped the list of suicides reported due to failure in examination, love affairs, illicit relationships etc.
Family problems and illness (including AIDS/Cancer) which accounted for 25.6 per cent and 20.8 per cent of suicides in the country were also on the higher side in Tamil Nadu. Emotional crisis consequent to the death of a dear person has led to 99 suicides in the State last year of which 47 were women.
State nodal officer of the National Mental Health Programme Dr. C. Ramasubramanian says suicides are identifiable and preventable. A psychological autopsy of suicide victims over a period of time revealed that they showed typical signs and symptoms. “Suicide is impulsive only among younger people. In a majority of other cases, it is a culmination of turmoil. A feeling of insecurity, hopelessness and finally helplessness causes negative perception and tunnelled type of thinking. This kind of a prolonged depression with no emotional support and scope to ventilate often triggers suicidal tendencies,” he said.
Dr. Ramasubramanian, an eminent psychiatrist, said prevention of suicide was a collective responsibility of the government and the people.
“Every citizen has a role to play in this noble cause. Suicides are not confined to any particular family…it can happen anywhere. The State has to create awareness of suicide prevention and create facilities for treatment and rehabilitation.”
Explaining the common symptoms, he said early morning insomnia, strong sense of guilt over trivial mistakes, sudden tendency to meet old friends, giving away prized possessions and crying spells for invalid reasons were important signs of suicides that needed urgent intervention.
“We are trying to introduce mental health education in schools. A three-pronged training module has been devised to cover students, parents and teachers on a variety of issues relating to mental health, moral values, suicide prevention etc. A pilot project is already on in Madurai,” he said adding that suicide was never a solution to any problem.