Video | What Has Led to Suicides During the COVID-19 Lockdown? 

Did you know that more than half of the people who committed suicides in India do not have any mental illnesses?

Updated21 May 2020, 07:23 AM IST
Mind It
2 min read

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and the lockdown and pandemic has lead to widespread mental health issues in our communities. FIT is republishing this article to raise awareness for mental health issues during this time in this light.)

“More than half of the people who die of suicide in our country don’t have a diagnosable mental illness.”
Dr Soumitra Pathare, a consultant psychiatrist and Director of Centre for Mental Health, Law and Policy at ILS

During the COVID-19 lockdown, there are reports pointing to an increase in alleged suicides.

Is this a case of zealous over-reporting or is there something more going on? Suicide is complex, with many different factors contributing to it. We talk to Dr Pathare, a consultant psychiatrist and Director of Centre for Mental Health, Law and Policy at ILS and someone who helped draft India’s new mental health law, to find out more.

He tells us that in the lockdown they have to trust the data from the journalists, and has been following English dailies which have reported 164 stories talking about around 140 suicides and about 24 attempted suicides.

“The reports are saying that in the first week it was due to alcohol withdrawal. In the second and third and fourth week of the lockdown, it shifted and the reasons being recorded where that people were afraid of getting COVID-19, or they felt they had already got COVID-19 or they were being ostracised by their families and neighbours for having COVID-19 when they didn’t have it. And then in the last week or ten days, we are beginning to see stories of suicide where the reasons are the lack of food or money or employment, worries about employment.”
Dr Soumitra Pathare

(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs)

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Published: 04 May 2020, 10:01 AM IST

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