Suicide is the leading cause of death among Indian women aged 15 to 29
At least 10 women commit suicide every hour in India.
Almost 4 out of every 10 women in the world who commit suicide are Indian.
For every person that commits suicide, there are at least 10 who attempt it.
Typically, Indian women who commit suicide are likely to be younger than 35, married, and from economically developed areas.
But why is suicide an epidemic for young women in India?
Researchers across Harvard University and the Public Health Foundation of India as well as mental health experts in India believe that although mental health may play a role, in India, suicide is also a result of many external societal pressures and gendered norms. There remains a massive stigma in India against depression and mental health topics. No one wants anyone to find out for fear of ostracizing family or themselves, or becoming less ‘marriage material.’
In terms of gendered norms, in many ways, urban Indian women have progressed significantly over the last 30 years. More women are educated and contribute to household income. However, the burdens of their domestic responsibilities have not adjusted. While also holding full-time jobs, women must maintain their physique and be socially active, yet are still expected to be the primary homemaker, childrearer, and maintainer of tight familial obligations. Besides the extra responsibilities which may strain a woman, finding the time to go to therapy becomes a herculean task.
Current resources are not enough
Every suicide is preventable. And every life is worth saving, no matter how dire the circumstances. Unfortunately, India does not have formal self-help groups devoted to support women who have suicidal tendencies. Until one becomes available, if you are feeling depressed and have suicidal thoughts, please access one of the following hotlines:
AASRA: Available 24x7 at +912227546669
Roshni: Available Mon-Sat, 11am-9pm at +914066202000
Cooj: Available Mon-Fri, 1pm-7pm at +918322252525
Sneha India Foundation: Available 24x7 at +914424640050 or write anonymously to [email protected]
Vandrevala Foundation: Available 24x7 at +918602662345
Connecting (for youth): Available daily, 12pm-8pm at +919922001122 or email [email protected]
Source: The Lancet Public Health (October 2018)