Suicides in Mumbai have increased from 1,051 in 2009 to 1,322 in 2013, amounting to an average of three suicides per day. Police officers and psychiatrists attribute this rise to an increase in day-to-day stress, and recommend general alertness to keep a check on the behaviour of family members and friends to detect any signs of suicidal behaviour early on.
According to statistics obtained by Right To Information (RTI) activist Vihar Durve, 271 more cases of suicides were reported in 2013 as compared to 2009.
“A majority of the cases of suicide, which are observed, are due to familial problems. People were found to have killed themselves after relations soured with their family members due to a variety of reasons. The second highest reason behind suicides is financial trouble, be it lack of money, loss of money in business or failure to get a job,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil, spokesperson of the Mumbai police.
Dr Arun John, who heads the Vandravala Foundation, which helps people who are contemplating suicide, concurred, saying, “Relationship issues are the maximum among the cases that we work with, and these are not only between a man and a woman. There are a lot of relationship-based issues in India. Also, stress in daily life has increased and the stigma of there being a suicide victim in the family is not as strong as it once was, which is why the numbers are increasing.”
The Vandrevala Foundation runs a 24×7 helpline, which people can call in case they are feeling depressed or suicidal, and fields hundreds of calls every month. It has a tie-up with the Mumbai police and ambulance services in case quick help is needed for emergencies.
Patil added that while not much can be done by the police to deter people from killing themselves, it is always advisable for every citizen to keep an eye on the people around them.
“It is a historically documented fact that those who are feeling suicidal will always display tell-tale signs and will reach out for help. In case we notice anyone displaying such signs, we should give them numbers of helplines immediately, as people are comfortable confiding to a faceless voice on the other end of the phone as opposed to a person sitting with them,” Dr John said.