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Suicide rate highest among youngsters in India: WHO

Youngsters in the 15-29 years age group accounted for the highest rate of suicide per 100,000 population in India during 2012, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report published recently. The report also found India registering the highest estimated number of suicides in the world in 2012.

According to the report, 258,075 people committed suicide in India in 2012. Out of this, 99,977 were women and 158,098 were men. In the age group of 15-29 years, the suicide rate was 35.5 per 100,000 during the year, whereas people between 30-49 years 28 persons out of 100,000 committed suicide.

However, the overall rate of suicide in India is low at 21.1 compared with other countries. According to the report, the rate of suicide per 100,000 people in Sri Lanka is 28.8.  In Guyana and North Korea it is 44.2 and 38.5, respectively.

The WHO report also revealed that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally, while, about 800,000 people die by suicide every year. The annual global suicide rate is 11.4 per 100,000 people.

However, in countries such as China, the rate is much lower at 7.8 per 100,000. Similarly, in Malaysia, only three per 100,000 committed suicide.

Pesticide poisoning, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally. Suicide by intentional pesticide ingestion is of particular concern in rural agricultural areas in the south-east Asian region, the report noted. About 75 per cent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The report points out that in high-income countries, mental disorders are present in up to 90 per cent of people who end up committing suicide.

However, studies from China and India show that mental disorders are less prevalent at 60 per cent among those who commit suicide.

“There is ample evidence of large differences in the rates and demographic characteristics of suicide between different locations within countries – between urban and rural areas of China and between different states in India. In this situation, national data do not help to determine the geographical regions or the demographic groups that should be prioritised for intervention efforts,” the report titled ‘Preventing Suicide- A global imperative’ said.

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