2020 stats: 30 suicides/day due to poverty, unemployment | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Over 10,600 people died by suicide in India in 2020 because they were unemployed, poor or due to bankruptcy and indebtedness, marking an 8% increase over 2019.
The latest government statistics shows at least one person, on average, died by suicide every hour because of these causes in 2020. While the number of suicides due to bankruptcy or indebtedness reduced from 5,908 in 2019 to 5,213 in 2020, deaths due to poverty and unemployment recorded an increase.

If the decrease in deaths by suicide due to bankruptcy was 11%, the increase in deaths due to poverty went up by 69% to 1,901 in 2020 from 1,122 in 2019, while suicides due to joblessness recorded a 24% jump (3,548 from 2,851).
Of the 10,622 deaths attributed to these causes collectively in 2020, those related to bankruptcy and indebtedness account for nearly half (49%), while a third of them (3,548) were because of unemployment.
1,901 people died by suicide due to poverty last year
Poverty pushed 1,901 people to suicide in 2020. Psychiatrists TOI spoke with said the wellheeled and not-so-wellheeled are equally affected by financial uncertainty, especially if they have families. In many cases, those who led a decent life appear less capable of coping with such uncertainty now.
Suicides attributed to these causes together accounted for 7% of the total number of suicides — more than 1.5 lakh — reported in the country in the pandemic year. Comparatively, they accounted for 8% of the 1.3 lakh suicides reported in 2019. Analysis of data since 2015 shows that a total of 45,406 people died by suicide due to these causes collectively, with those relating to bankruptcy accounting for nearly 65% or 29,218 deaths, followed by unemployment (36% or 16,565 cases).
While ignorance and social stigma (about mental health issues) prevent people from seeking treatment, psychiatrists said that individuals, in these cases, severely depressed also find it financially unviable to consult experts.
Data shows that while there are some fluctuations in cases relating to each of these causes individually, they have been collectively increasing each year after 2016. In that year, the total suicides due to these reasons had dipped by 18% to 7,179. From there, it jumped 22% in 2017, by another 2% in 2018, 11% in 2019 and 8% in 2020, the year with the highest deaths in the said period.
Of the suicides because of these causes in 2020, most deaths occurred in the 30-44 age group followed by those in the 18-29 bracket. The least deaths were among those below the age of 18 and above 60 years of age.
Those aged between 30 years and 44 years accounted for nearly 40% of such suicides (4,218).
Further, nearly 70% or 7,415 of all such suicides were reported in the four souther n states — Kar nataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh — and Maharashtra. When it comes to bankruptcy-related deaths, almost nine out of 10 deaths were reported in these states, while it was 53% for poverty deaths and 50.5% for deaths due to unemployment.

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Sagar Biswas

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