Suicide is one of top causes of death for young adults in India

Suicide has become the second-leading cause of death of young people in India, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, according to new research published in The Lancet.*

The study is the first nationally-representative survey of suicide in India, and found that India had a total of 0.2 million suicide deaths in 2010, at ages 15 years and older. Previous estimates in the country have used data from the National Crime Records Bureau, which could under-report suicide, as attempted suicide is a crime in India.

54% of female and 40% of male suicides occurred at ages 15-29 years, and about half of all suicide deaths were due to poisoning. Age standardised suicide death rates at ages 15 years and older were two fold higher in rural than urban areas, and risks of suicide death also varied markedly between states.

The study suggests that reducing binge alcohol drinking and access to pesticides, as well as providing easier access to mental health support services, could prevent suicide deaths.

*Patel V, Ramasundarahettige C, Vijayakumar L, Thakur JS, Gajalakshmi V, Gururaj G, Suraweera W, Jha P. Suicide mortality in India: a nationally representative survey. Lancet 2012; 379: 2343-51

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