India’s alarming suicide rates are spotlighted as Lifeline Foundation launches SOLACE, a new support group initiative for suicide survivors and their families, on Sunday. The launch of this unveiling programme aligns with the annual observance of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) revealed a statistic in August 2022 that showed a disconcerting 7.2% rise in reported suicides in India in 2021, reaching a total of 1,64,033 cases. This increase in terms of total numbers compared to the previous year has raised serious concerns. India also saw a 6.2% rise in its suicide rate, with 12 suicides per lakh of the population in 2021 compared to the figures from 2020. This alarming data marks the highest number of recorded suicides in the country since the NCRB began tracking this data in 1967.
The significant portion of these distressing incidents were mainly reported in five states namely Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Karnataka. Together, these five states contributed to 50.4% of all reported suicides in the nation. According to NCRB statistics, suicides can result from a range of factors, such as issues related to one’s profession or career, feelings of isolation, abuse, violence, family conflicts, mental health disorders, alcohol addiction, financial setbacks, chronic pain, and more. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) gathers information on suicides from cases reported to the police.
Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Jai Ranjan Ram inaugurated the event. The unveiling programme also featured a panel discussion focusing on the role of support groups in helping individuals cope with the trauma resulting from the suicide of a loved one. Eminent panellists included Esha Dutta, joint convenor of PRONAM (a collaboration between Kolkata Police and The Bengal Initiative); Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, accomplished author and journalist; Jayanto N. Choudhury, IPS officer (retd.); and Mittra Sinha Roy, principal of Adamas International School, GD Birla Centre of Education.
Lifeline Foundation, a registered voluntary non-profit organisation headquartered in Kolkata, has been tirelessly working since 1996 in the fields of suicide prevention and mental health. Their fundamental belief is that individuals with suicidal thoughts seek relief from their pain rather than a desire to end their lives.
Speaking on behalf of the Lifeline Foundation, Suksham Singh, founder and director, stated that individuals struggling with suicidal tendencies can openly share their feelings with the organisation’s experienced volunteers. The organisation firmly believes in the efficacy of an anonymous listener, ensuring callers receive the help they need just a phone call away.