India’s First Suicide Prevention Policy

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently unveiled the National Suicide Prevention Strategy – India’s first suicide prevention policy.

Why was the policy launched?

  • National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) aims to reduce suicide mortality by 10 per cent by 2030 through timely actions and multi-sectoral collaborations.
  • The national strategy has several objectives. These are:
  1. Set up effective surveillance mechanisms for suicides within the next 3 years
  2. Establish psychiatric outpatient departments that provide suicide prevention services through the District Mental Health Programme in all states within 5 years
  3. Integrate a mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutions within the next 8 years
  • The strategy also seeks to develop guidelines for responsible media reporting about suicides and restricting access to the means of suicides.
  • It will improve community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention.
  • While it is in line with the WHO’s South East-Asia Region Strategy for Suicide Prevention, this strategy will remain on par with the Indian culture and social milieu.

What is NSPS?

  • The NSPS is divided into 3 parts – immediate, intermediate and long-term strategy.
  • Its priority areas are reducing easy access to suicide modes, strengthening healthcare systems to prevent suicide, sensitization through media and strengthening suicide surveillance.
  • Under this policy, the government will phase out hazardous pesticides.
  • It will also increase post-graduate seats in the field of mental health.
  • Short-term training to non-specialist doctors and others will also be provided to increase access to mental health services.

Suicides in India

India, as middle-income country, has a high burden of suicide. More than 1 lakh people lose their lives each year because of it. It is among the top reasons for deaths of people in the age group of 15 to 29 years. The most common reasons for suicides include family problems and illnesses, which account for 34 per cent and 18 per cent of all suicide-related deaths. About 63 per cent of people who died of suicide earned less than Rs.1 lakh per annum. Daily wage earners, self-employed persons and housewives accounted for over half of the suicide cases in the country.



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