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Why in news : Union health ministry launched INDIA’s 1st suicide prevention policy.

Need of the policy :

  • NCRB (national crime records bureau) report 2021, stated that 1.64 lakh people died by suicide in 2021.
  • Suicide rate has increased from 10.6 in 2015 to 12 per 1 lakh population in 2021.
  • Top category under suicide rate are adults and youth falling the age group of 15-29 years.

Reasons for suicide :

  • According to NCRB report 2021, the main reasons are family issues -33.2%, unemployment/career problems – 7.7%, health concerns -18.6%.

Aim and significance of the policy :

  • The main objective of the policy is to achieve reduction in suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.
  • The strategy is in line with the WHO’s SOUTH EAST ASIA REGION STRATEGY for suicide prevention.
  • UN SDG no 3- states to promote mental health and wellbeing among all. One of the indicators for this is suicide rate.
  • INDIA became a signatory for 2030 agenda for sustainable development in 2015. So it is necessary to promote mental well being among its population.

Issues related to suicide :

  • Section 309 of IPC : Under this section attempting suicide is a criminal offence.
  • Lack of empathy among public officials including healthcare workers, doctors, police and judiciary.
  • Treating suicide as a medico- legal issue rather than socio structural problem.
  • Higher vulnerability among marginalized communities.
  • Wrong way of curriculum and grades based stress on students.

Steps taken to tackle the issue :

  • MENTAL HEALTH CARE ACT 2017, has decriminalized the suicide. It treats suicide as mental problem rather than criminal one.
  • KIRAN INITIATIVE : Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the toll free mental health rehabilitation helpline KIRAN to provide relief and support to persons with mental illness.
  • MANODARPAN INITIATIVE : it’s an initiative by Ministry of Education aims to provide psychological support for mental health and well being of students during COVID outbreak and beyond.

Way forward :

  • Community based interventions through HEALTH AND WELLNESS CENTERS integrated within AYUSHMAN BHARAT scheme.
  • Empathetic conversation on suicide.
  • Removing section 309 of IPC to treat suicide as mental problem.

MARIWALA HEALTH INITIATIVE’S report SUICIDE PREVENTION-CHANGING THE NARRATIVE mentions that suicide prevention needs both psychological support and enabling access to social benefits like employment, health services etc.


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