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Indian men face higher suicide rates than women: study


The suicide death rate among currently married men was three times that of currently married women

Men in India are more prone to suicide than women, with family conflicts and health concerns as the main triggers, says a Lancet article

Findings indicate that suicide death rate (SDRs) in men compared to women were twice common in 2014, which increased to 2.5 times in 2021.

The SDR among currently married men (24.3%) was three times that of currently married women (8.4%). Increases in suicide mortality were found in married and never married men, and the rise was remarkably higher than in women. 

“We examined patterns of suicide death among Indian men and women. Analyses of unnatural deaths among adults (15–49 years) using National Family Health Survey data and suicide among 15 years and older based on the Million Death Study show that men more frequently die from suicide than women,” says a latest Lancet article, “Changing pattern of suicide deaths in India.”

The authors, Aathavan K K, Solveig Argeseanu Cunningham, Pravat Bhandari, Udaya Shankar Mishra, Aditi Aditi say the increasing number of suicidal deaths needs further research to understand the nature of the stressors that trigger men to take the extreme step. 

“Intervention strategies should focus on decriminalising and destigmatising suicide. Further, creating awareness of mental health issues in men would help arrest the increasing toll of suicides,” the authors argue.

“Low suicide among women might indicate better coping mechanisms for dealing with stress,which could be an adaptable intervention strategy. A larger share of suicides in productive years of life calls for addressing livelihood insecurities,” they add. 

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for Indian men offers a change in the characteristic pattern of suicide deaths, unlike in the case of women. 

The age group with the most suicide deaths for men were 18–29, 30–44, and 45–59 years, whereas for women, it was 18–29 years. Daily wage earners show a surge of 170.7% in suicide deaths among men between 2014 and 2021 accruing to SDR of 34.6 among men against 13.1 among women in 2021.

Unemployed men and women had a very high SDR of 48.2 and 27.8, respectively. Women of all educational levels show a decline in suicide deaths, whereas men’s suicide mortality increased at all educational levels. Most markedly, men who studied up to class 9–12 show a rise in SDR from 22.6 to 30.0 and an increase of 66.4% in suicide deaths between 2014 and 2021, approximately two-fold than their counterparts. 

The sex ratio of suicide deaths in the economic class of $1220–$6098 has risen from 2.3 to 3.7 times among men compared to women during 2014–2021. The suicide method frequently used was hanging, with an increase of 77.4% in men and 51.3% in women.

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Family problems and health issues remain the prominent reason behind suicides. Owing to these two reasons, the male-to-female ratio of suicides has increased from 1.9 and 2.5 to 2.4 and 3.2, respectively, during 2014–2021. There was a 107.5% increase in citing family problems as a reason among men during 2014–2021, approximately two-fold of that in women. 

Also Read : 700 000 people die by suicide every year: Lancet