Death by suicide rose in India during 2020 pandemic, according to new data

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India recorded a spike in deaths by suicide  (AFP via Getty Images)
India recorded a spike in deaths by suicide (AFP via Getty Images)

India has recorded a ten per cent jump in suicides in the pandemic year of 2020, data released by the country’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has revealed.

The figures, collected from police records across the country, showed that suicides in India rose to 153,052 in 2020 from 139,123 in 2019 .

The rate of suicides in the country also increased by 8 per cent in 2020 over 2019 and increased to a five-year high of 11.3 suicides per lakh compared to 10.3 per 100,000 of the population in 2016.

Five states contributed to more than half of the total suicides. These included the states of Maharashtra, where 19,909 suicides occurred, followed by 16,883 in Tamil Nadu, 14,578 in Madhya Pradesh, 13,103 in West Bengal and 12,259 in Karnataka.

Lockdowns because of the pandemic led to an increase in family problems across the world. In India, problems related to family and marriage, dominated the cause of suicide in 2020.

Family problems, other than marriage related problems, accounted for 33.6 per cent of the suicides, said the report. Marriage-related problems accounted for five per cent of the suicides, while illness was the reason for 18 per cent of deaths.

The rate of suicides, at 14.8 per cent, was also greater in cities, compared to the all-India rate of 11.3 per cent.

The four metropolitan cities in the country reported the greatest number of suicides in the country. National capital Delhi recorded the greatest number of suicides, at 3,025.

The report also pointed out that among these suicides, only 12.6 per cent of the individuals were illiterate, while the rest had received education ranging from primary, middle to graduate levels.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.

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