Wake up B'luru, time to loosen the noose

More millennials have stepped over the edge than before, finds a 2015 survey by the National Crime Records Bureau.

Stress at the workplace, unemployment, failed love affairs, trouble at the workplace or the strain of just living in the big city? Whatever be the reason, life in the IT capital is no walk in the park. More millennials have stepped over the edge than before, finds a 2015 survey by the National Crime Records Bureau which ranks our city, next only to Chennai as the suicide capital of the country. Time for care-givers to come alive and staunch the tide.

It's no secret that the glitter and glamour of Bengaluru with its catchy tags of IT and Pub City, has a dark side to it. The stress of living in a city that doesn’t seem to sleep very much of late or even take it easy on a Sunday seems to be taking its toll on its people as it has figured once again in the list of metros with the highest number of suicides in 2015.

A recent report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) places Bengaluru next only to Chennai in suicides, ahead of even Delhi and Mumbai with 1,855 reported during the year in question.

Although the city’s suicide rate fell by 2.7 per cent in 2015 as compared to the previous year which saw 1,906 suicides, the numbers are still worrying. While among the 1,855 people who took their lives, 1,237 were men and 618 women, the chief triggers appear to be family problems, illness, unemployment, love affairs and professional or career issues.

Accustomed to fighting crime and keeping the city safe from criminals, the police appears helpless when it comes to preventing suicides. “We can
prevent crimes but not suicides, as we have absolutely no information to go on. We can only investigate the circumstances that led to a suicide after it is committed,” said a police officer.

Former DG and IGP, Dr. S. T. Ramesh believes only family members, friends and relatives can help someone potentially at risk for suicide. “They are the ones who usually first come to know if a family member has suicidal tendencies. They need to provide them psychiatric help immediately if they do. Even if they go to the police, it can’t do anything but recommend this,” he explained.

Mr Ramesh doesn't set much store by helplines as they cannot help curb suicides, in his view. “Those who have a suicidal tendency do not always admit to it. So the chances of them calling a helpline are quite small,” he contended,
While agreeing that the city’s increasingly fast paced life could be driving some people to suicide, he believes that better reporting of suicides has also contributed to placing Bengaluru second only to Chennai in the number reported in 2015.

“We can only guess that the fast life of the city and stress are among the reasons why people take their own lives. But poor reporting of such cases in many parts of the country could also be contributing to Bengaluru making it to the list of cities with the highest number of suicides every year,” he reasoned.

Family problems, illness the common factors in metros
Family problems (27.6 per cent ) and illness (15.8 per cent ) were the top triggers for suicides overall in the metros covered, including Bengaluru, during 2015.
Other triggers in the city were unemployment, failed love affairs and professional/career issues.

While family problems claimed 815 lives, 229 people ended their lives owing to illness. Unemployment drove another 87 to suicide and failed love affairs caused another 73 to end their lives. For 71 others professional/career problems proved too overwhelming.

While 21 men killed themselves over bankruptcy/indebtedness, 45 (including 26 women) ended their lives over marriage issues. Forty six students killed themselves over failure in examinations and 25 others, including 17 women, could not bear the pain of losing a loved one.

As many 222 suicides, however, remained a mystery and 186 had various other reasons for taking their own lives. Seeing that family problems are a major cause of suicides, psychiatrists stress that family members can play a key role in preventing them.

“Families need to be very observant and take note of even the slightest change in an individual’s behaviour. Mention of death or anything similar must be taken note of seriously and help sought immediately for the individual in question,” advises Dr. B.N. Gangadhar, director of NIMHANS.

The suicide trigger: Dr BN Gangadhar, director, Nimhans
The stress and strains of our daily lives can be a trigger for suicide attempts. The family is very important in these situations. Behavioral changes are the easiest way to tell if a person needs help or is contemplating suicide. Even the mention of death or anything similar must be noted by family members and the individual in question given help .

When its time for examinations, the family must make sure not to expect too much. Also, in a fast-moving world its important that people don’t bite off more than they can chew.

In other words they must only take on work that they can handle. Emotional relationships are, however, something that none of us have power over. But the family must be attuned to such distress and offer support to the person undergoing it at such times.

In villages people must be told to keep all pesticides and poisonous materials used in farming practices under lock and key, so they are out of reach of anyone contemplating suicide.

While the government has come up with many programmes to ensure that depressed people get the treatment they need - the district mental health programme is one of many such - we need to understand that it is not just mental problems that drive someone to suicide. A few symptoms that parents can look out for in children are increased absenteeism in school, lack of appetite, poor sleep pattern and so on.

The immediate family of someone who is considered a potential suicide risk, needs to be understanding and available at all times. The person should be reassured and made to understand that help is available and that he or she is not alone.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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