National

In Rajya Sabha, members express concern over suicides caused by coronavirus pandemic

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. File

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. File  

There has been an exponential rise in the number of suicides because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related events, Congress leader Anand Sharma and Ramgopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party) said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Mr. Yadav, speaking in Hindi said that businesses have been shut, many people lost their jobs and families destroyed due to the lockdown. “Forget about education, parents are forced to make their children sleep on empty stomachs at night,” he said.

The whys of death by suicide

Citing an example, he said, that in last five months, in Noida, 44 people died due to COVID-19, but in the same duration, 165 persons committed suicide due to economic distress and stress.

“I would urge the government that for all those who lost their jobs because of the lockdown an unemployment allowance of ₹15000 a month should be given to ensure that they do not die of starvation or are not forced to commit suicide,” Mr. Yadav said. Democratic countries across the globe have been taking similar steps to lend a helping hand, he noted.

Also read | Number of accidental deaths, suicides grew in 2019: NCRB

Speaking in similar vein, Mr. Sharma said world over eight lakh suicides happened annually, out of which 1.39 lakh occurred in India. This means that India accounted for 15 per cent of the total suicides in the world. During 2009, there had been an increase of four per cent in the number of suicides in India. “Number of persons affected by mental health issues has exponentially increased after the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown.”

Mental ailments

Students’ mental state was even more precarious because many do not have access to online classes, non-availability of mid-day meals and the fear of getting affected by coronavirus. Mental ailments should also be covered under the ambit of life insurance and the governments, both at the Centre and States should evolve innovative measures to effectively deal with mental health issues, Mr. Sharma said.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 12:52:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-rajya-sabha-members-express-concern-over-suicides-caused-by-coronavirus-pandemic/article32612294.ece

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