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Home > India > News > Report

Once again, Bangalore is India's suicide capital

Vicky Nanjappa | June 26, 2008 09:11 IST

Bangalore, a city that developed faster than one could bat an eyelid, is once again in the news and for the second year in a row, this IT city has earned the dubious distinction of being the suicide capital of India.

Statistics available with the World Health Organisation and the Bangalore Police show that the capital of Karnataka is way ahead of the rest of the cities in India in terms of high suicide rate.

South India: World's suicide capital

The Bangalore city police say that till June 2008, 1,070 cases of suicide had been reported in Bangalore alone. It seems as though it is just a matter of time before Bangalore catches up with last year's statistics where 2430 cases were reported.

A report by the World Health Organisation states that 17 out every 1 lakh persons commit suicide in Bangalore. The figure has sure shot up when compared to the year 2007 where the number of persons committing suicide was 10 per every 1 lakh persons.

In New Delhi, the suicide rate is at 10 per lakh while in Mumbai and Chennai, it is 12 and 11 per lakh respectively.

South Indians & Suicide: The Terrifying Equation

Looking at the cases closely one could come to the conclusion that a majority of the cases in Bangalore have been due to non-mental disorders such as stress, financial constraints, and personal relationships.

This according to Dr Savitha Rao, a counsellor is a disturbing fact. When one compares the statistics of 2005 where 1480 persons had committed suicide in Bangalore, it is clear that a majority of these cases were due to mental disorders and financial constraints.

Over the years the pattern sure has changed. Stress and a fast-paced lifestyle, which people are unable to cope up with, are becoming major factors for suicide in Bangalore, says Savitha.

She adds that with competition increasing every day there is a lot of stress on people to perform better. Many are unable to cope with this pressure and this in turn has a bearing on their personal lives too as a result of which they take the extreme step.

NGO begins anti-suicide e-mail service

Several IT firms in the city have woken up to this problem and are taking steps to ensure that the stress levels are down. Various programmes to bust stress, time management skills, longer holidays, and more outings are part of the programme to keep the employee at ease.

Vikram Singh, an employee at an IT firm in Bangalore told that by the time they reach their offices, they are stressed out thanks to the traffic in the city. Once at work, the competition is so high that there is not a moment to breathe.

Vikram says that several programmes within the company to beat the stress have sure come handy and this has helped them relax a great deal.

India accounts for 10% of world's suicides

Another cause for concern is the sudden change in lifestyle as a result of which more and more people are getting into financial problems.

Natraj B T, a senior advocate in Bangalore, says: "Over the years the number of cases pertaining to financial institutions has risen drastically. Banks are to be blamed to a large extent for providing loans so easily. The customers fall trap and take huge loans and when they are unable to pay they end up taking the drastic step."

He says that in the past three months, he has witnessed at least 40 cases where people have committed suicide as they were unable to clear personal loans that range between Rs 2 to Rs 5 lakh.

The suicide pattern in Bangalore is sure changing. In the year 2008, most persons who committed suicide were in the age group of 26 to 35. In the previous years, the persons committing suicide were either in the age group of 15 to 19 or in their late 40s. This, according to Savitha, is another indication to show that the more and more people from the working class are committing suicide in Bangalore.

Moreover, the half-yearly statistics for Bangalore also show that the number of men committing suicide is more compared to the women. Out of the 1070 suicides in 2008, 600 were men while the rest women.

Doctors and experts point out that the key reason for Bangalore topping the charts in terms of suicide is due to immense stress. Travel within the city is a major factor and steps ought to be taken to sort out this problem.

Long working hours, especially in BPO's and IT based companies should be reduced immediately and more family time ought to be given.

A doctor at the Bowring hospital in Bangalore, who did not want to be named, said people should not be ashamed to seek psychiatric help. There is this general tendency among people to feel awkward while seeking psychiatric help and this trend should be reversed.

There is too much happening in the city and the rise in suicide rate by almost 40 percent since the year 2000 only goes on to show that people are unable to cope with the stress.