Four of India's southern states — Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnakata and Kerala — that together constitute 22% of the country's population recorded 42% of suicide deaths in men and 40% of self-inflicted fatalities in women in 2010.
Maharashtra and West Bengal together accounted for an additional 15% of suicide deaths.
The first national study of deaths in India, published in the British Medical journal The Lancet on Friday, says that suicide has become the second-leading cause of death among the young in India.
Of the total deaths by suicide in individuals aged 15 years or older, about 40% suicide deaths in men and about 56% in women occurred in individuals aged 15-29 years.
Suicide deaths occurred at younger ages in women (average age 25 years) than in men (average age 34 years). Educated persons were at greater risk of completing a suicide.Professor Patel felt that with the decline in maternal death rates, suicide could soon become the leading cause of death among young women in India.The study says the National Crime Records Bureau underestimates suicide deaths in men by at least 25% and women (36%).
Prof Patel pointed out to lack of national strategy for suicide prevention in India.
He said, "Suicides can be prevented through interventions like banning the most toxic pesticides and teaching rural communities on safe storage of pesticides. India should also start mental health promotion for young people through schools and colleges and introduce crisis counseling services and services for treatment of depression and alcohol addiction."
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