Suicides increase in India during 2019

Suicides in India grew by 3.4% in 2019 over the previous year, official data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed. A total of 1, 39, 123 Indians committed suicide during 2019, compared to 1, 34, 516 in 2018. It amounted to on average 381 suicides every day – or one suicide every 4 minutes. The rate of suicide (incidence of suicide per 1 lakh population) went up by 0.2 percentage points in 2019 vis-a-vis 2018. It marks the 2nd consecutive year that rate of suicide has gone up after successive years of downward shift.

Rate of suicide (incidence per 1 lakh population) – source NCRB

The gender ratio among suicide victims in 2019 was approximately 70:30 for Males:Females. More than 2/3rd of male suicide victims (68.4%) were married while the same figure was 62.5% among female victims. Like last 3 years, in 2019 also, the top 5 states in terms of suicides were Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka with these 5 states together accounting for 49.5% of all suicides in the country during the year – down marginally from 51.0% share in 2018.

Top 5 states on no. of suicides (figure in parentheses indicates contribution to national total) – source: NCRB

Daily wage earners continue to be the biggest group by profession among suicide victims – up from 22.4% in 2018 to 23.4% in 2019. Suicides among farming sector dropped marginally – from 7.7% in 2018 to 7.4% in 2019. Among the farming suicides, farmer suicides were 5957 and agri-laborer suicides were 4324. Together, farming and daily wage earners accounted for ~31% of all suicides in 2019 – or 1 in every 3.

The World Health Organization (WHO) rates suicides as a “serious public health problem” which it considers “preventable” with timely, evidence-based and often, low-cost interventions. The WHO calls on all national governments to adopt a comprehensive, multi-sectoral suicide prevention strategy to tackle this challenge.

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