On World Suicide Prevention Day, here’s a look at the situation in India.
The Union Education Ministry data, analysed by News18, shows that IITs reported 39 deaths between 2018 and July 2023 while NITs registered 25 student suicides. These are just one set of institutions in India.
Since 2014, at least 137 suicide cases have been reported across 135 different Higher Education Institutions. These include Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Central Universities, Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and School of Planning and Architecture (SPAs). More than half of these, 91 suicides, were reported between 2018 and 2022.
Earlier this month, a 21-year-old student of BTech final year at IIT died by suicide. The incident was reported just weeks after another student of IIT-Delhi killed herself on July 10.
The ministry data also shows that Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are the only three states that have reported student suicides in central government institutes between 2018-22 without a break. Every year, students studying in these states were killing themselves. Between 2018 and 2022, Delhi has reported 14 suicides in central government institutions while for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the numbers are 13 and six, respectively.
Before entering these premium institutes, students go for coaching. Kota, which is famous for its coaching institutes, made headlines for all the wrong reasons last month. In August alone, five teens killed themselves in Kota. The town has witnessed 23 student suicides in the last eight months. Numbers from the police revealed that between 2017 and 2022, at least 46 students have killed themselves.
At least two lakh students go to Kota every year to prepare for competitive exams like the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for engineering and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical colleges. But data shows that even after getting admission in these high-profile and best colleges of India, student suicides continue.
Every day, 36 Students Die by Suicide in India
While cases from premier institutes and prime locations are reported more frequently, a large number of students is killing themselves across the country per day.
Across India, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, per day at least 36 students killed themselves in 2021. In 2017, this number was 27. Between 2017 and 2021, there has been a continuous rise in student suicides.
About 1.30 Lakh People Killing Themselves Each Year
India has reported 28.16 lakh suicides in the period between 2000 and 2021, making it nearly 1.30 lakh suicides per year. Until 2019, the number of suicides reported in a year in the country was under 1.40 lakh. But in 2020 and 2021, the incidents registered a significant rise. In 2020 and 2021, per day more than 400 people ended their lives through suicide, up from 298 in 2000.
The numbers show that post 1998, each year more than one lakh cases of suicide were reported in India. Touching an all-time high of 1.64 lakh suicides, the year 2021 presented the saddest picture. Also, since 2017, India has been reporting a consistent rise in the incidents of suicides, data from NCRB shows.
The Gender Divide
News18 analysed the gender-wise suicide numbers for at least five years. It shows that the suicide cases among men have outnumbered women in the overall picture. But when the cases are filtered in terms of age, it shows that the cases of suicide among younger women, who are below the age of 18 years, are higher when compared to men in the same age group.
Further, between 2017 and 2021, 94 suicide cases among transgenders have been registered. The data analysed shows that the age group of 18 to 30 years reported the highest cases of suicide among transgenders – at least 62 cases since 2017.
Each suicide is a personal tragedy that prematurely takes the life of an individual and has a continuing ripple effect on the lives of families, friends and communities.
There are various causes of suicides ranging from professional/career problems, to sense of isolation, and abuse, violence, family problems, mental disorders, addiction to alcohol, financial loss, and chronic pain.
If you or someone you know needs help, call any of these helplines: Aasra (Mumbai) 022-27546669, Sneha (Chennai) 044-24640050, Sumaitri (Delhi) 011-23389090, Cooj (Goa) 0832- 2252525, Jeevan (Jamshedpur) 065-76453841, Pratheeksha (Kochi) 048-42448830, Maithri (Kochi) 0484-2540530, Roshni (Hyderabad) 040-66202000, Lifeline 033-64643267 (Kolkata).