West Bengal has the highest suicide rate in India, says study

As India struggles with the tag of the world’s second highest rate of suicides, a new study reveals that West Bengal is the worst affected. The question is as to what really could be the reasons behind this surge in suicide cases. 20-year old college students Mita and Priti consumed poison in Birbhum in Bengal on Wednesday. Theirs is the latest in the growing number of suicides.

In India, more than 1 lakh people committed suicide in 2011. What’s worse is that 372 people killed themselves on an average everyday in 2011. Bengal has the highest number of suicide cases.

“Especially with young people, the propensity and tendency to attempt suicide has increased,” Mental Health Activist Ratnabali Roy said.

A girl (name withheld) first thought of killing herself when she was 16 years of age. At 17, she tried to do it. Depression, stress and fear of failure drive many young Indians like her to suicide. “Fear of failure, I was depressed, stressed out. I thought I should end it. I didn’t want to live. There was a complete lack of confidence in me,” she said.

A Lancet study says suicide is the second biggest cause of death among young people in India. Existing laws are inadequate to deal with the alarming numbers. “Laws cannot stop people from committing suicide, there should be a suicide prevention policy adopted by the centre and the state government,” Human Rights Legal Services Network Lawyer Debashish Banerjee said.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, family problems and illness were one of the major causes of suicides in the year in the country with more young people taking this extreme step. Alarming figures indicate that the need of the hour now is for the government to reach out and spread awareness to reduce the burden of stigma and trauma and give its people a helping hand.

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