Friday, September 14, 2018

India's Suicide Problem

Nearly two in every five women in the world who kill themselves are Indian, according to a Lancet study that says the country’s suicides rates constitute a public health crisis.

The rate of Indian women who die by suicide hnow represents 36.6% of global female suicide deaths. Indian women who died by suicide were more likely to be married, to be from more developed states and, by a large margin, aged below 35. The suicide rate among Indian women was three times higher than what might be predicted for a country with similar geography and socio-economic indicators, the researchers said.

Poonam Muttreja, the executive director of the Population Foundation of India, a public health group,  blamed the trend on early marriage – one-fifth of Indian women still marry before the age of 15 – along with male violence against women and other symptoms of a deeply entrenched patriarchal culture.

“Our social norms are very regressive,” Muttreja said. “In the village, a girl is called her father’s daughter, then she is her husband’s wife, and when she has a son, she is her son’s mother.” 62% of women believe it was legitimate for their husbands to beat them.

Around one in four men in the world who die by suicide are Indian, roughly the same proportion as in 1990, the study said. Suicide was also the leading cause of death for young people of both genders but was worse for women.

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