What are the findings about the suicides in India in 2016 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors (GBD 2016) report?

As part of the research for 2016 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors (GBD 2016) report the researchers have estimated suicide rates for both sexes in each state of India from 1990 to 2016 based on multiple sources, including official sample registration and vital registration surveys, medically certified causes of death, and verbal autopsy studies. These estimates were published in the journal The Lancet public health.

Findings of the report

  • India now accounts for over a third of the world’s annual female suicides and nearly a fourth of male suicides. There was a significant increase in its global share from 1990.
  • The study found that higher education levels, residency in South India, and being Hindu were significantly associated with the elevated risk of suicide.
  • Drinking alcohol was associated with the risk of suicide in men and being widowed, divorced or separated was associated with a slightly decreased risk of suicide in women.
  • India’s female suicide problem is particularly bad. India has the sixth highest female suicide death rate in the world.
  • Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal would have the third, fourth and fifth worst rates of female suicide in the world.
  • Tripura, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have the highest age-standardized suicide rates among men.
  • The research also suggests that Violence against women as an important determinant of suicide.
  • The more developed southern states are more suicide prone. This reiterates the global trend of more developed states having higher suicide rates.
  • The highest age-specific rates of suicide for men were among elderly men aged 75 years or older whereas among women it was for young women aged 15-29.
  • Young people in India die predominantly of suicide. suicide was the leading cause of death among those aged 15-39 in 2016.

The report says that the decriminalisation of suicide in 2017 is expected to have a major role in access to mental health treatment and possible reduction in under-reporting and stigma associated with suicide.


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