The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has now introduced the National Suicide Prevention Strategy with a goal to reduce suicide mortality by 10% by 2030 (roughly 10,000 suicides in the following eight years) (NSPS).
Key Facts on suicides in India
- Family issues and illnesses are the most frequent causes of suicides, accounting for 34% and 18% of all suicide-related deaths, respectively.
- 63% of suicide deaths involved people with annual incomes under Rs. 1 lakh.
- Over half of all suicide cases in the nation were committed by daily wage workers, independent contractors, and housewives.
- According to the strategy document, India is a middle-income nation with the largest population of young people and a significant suicide problem.
- The report emphasises that one in four men and one in three women suicide victims worldwide are from India. India is now responsible for nearly 37 percent of all suicides worldwide among men and 24.3 percent among women.
- According to the report, more men than women die by suicide each year in the nation.
- According to data from 2020, the document also states that 63 percent of people who die by suicide make less than Rs 1 lakh annually. Over 50% of suicide cases in the nation were caused by daily wage workers, independent contractors, and housewives.
About National Suicide Prevention Strategy
- The programme will reflect the diverse cultural backgrounds of the nation’s regions.
- It will entail identifying important stakeholders and a number of priority areas.
- Three components make up the NSPS programme: an immediate, an intermediate, and a long-term strategy.
- In accordance with the strategy, the government aims to set up efficient suicide surveillance systems within the following three years. Within the next five years, it also plans to set up psychiatric outpatient clinics that will offer suicide prevention services as part of the District Mental Health Programme in every district.
- Within the next eight years, the ministry also intends to implement a mental health curriculum in educational institutions.
- Reduced easy access to suicide methods, improved health systems for suicide prevention, media sensitization, and improved suicide surveillance are among the NSPS’s top priority areas (by data collection on suicide).
- The NSPS calls for the gradual phase-out of dangerous pesticides. It aims to increase the number of post-graduate seats available in the area of mental health.
- With the assistance of other agencies and ministries, the health ministry is looking at a number of initiatives, including offering short-term training to non-specialist doctors and others and increasing youth participation in various activities.
Objectives of NSPS
The national strategy has a number of goals which are:
- Within the next three years, establish efficient suicide surveillance systems.
- Within five years, create in all states mental health outpatient clinics that offer suicide prevention services under the District Mental Health Programme.
- Within the next eight years, incorporate a mental health curriculum into all educational institutions.
- Along with limiting access to suicide tools, the strategy aims to create standards for ethical media reporting on suicides.
- It will increase social support for suicide prevention and community resilience.
- This strategy will continue to be in line with Indian culture and social milieu, even though it is in line with the WHO’s South East Asia Region Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
Ongoing suicide prevention initiatives in India
- The National Mental Health Policy (2014) sees prevention of mental disorders, reduction of suicide and attempted suicide as core priority areas.
- The Mental Healthcare Act 2017 brought in some necessary changes. The Act that came into force from May 2018 effectively decriminalised attempted suicide, which was punishable under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. It ensured that the individuals who have attempted suicide are offered opportunities for rehabilitation from the government as opposed to being tried or punished.
- Several national programmes such as the National Mental Health Program, National Palliative Care Program, Ayushman Bharat and Nasha Mukti Abhiyaan Task Force are also in place.
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