Doctors call for a suicide helpline

With a shocking 350-450 people attempting suicide every day, AP is second only to Maharashtra in recording the highest number of suicides in the country. According to statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), around 15,000 people commit suicide every year and around 40 people kill themselves per day in the state. AP also recorded the highest number of HIV/AIDS-related suicides (352) in 2009.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

With a shocking 350-450 people attempting suicide every day, AP is second only to Maharashtra in recording the highest number of suicides in the country. According to statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), around 15,000 people commit suicide every year and around 40 people kill themselves per day in the state. AP also recorded the highest number of HIV/AIDS-related suicides (352) in 2009. With this in mind, the government is now planning to curb this alarming trend by focusing on improving mental health.

Common causes of suicide include family disputes, financial debt, unemployment, harassment for dowry or by in-laws and unsuccessful love affairs.There is currently no helpline number. There is also a woeful dearth of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses and some area hospitals are yet to get counsellors, while the government mulls over measures to improve mental health in AP. Dr V. Pramod Kumar, nodal officer for state mental health and superintendent of Government Institute of Mental Health (GIMH), states that among the 40 new cases that turn up at the GIMH per day, at least four to five of them are suicidal and in need of serious counselling. “Its the schizophrenic, maniac and depressed lot who are more likely to become suicidal. However, manpower in this sector needs a big boost,” says the psychiatrist. Dr P.V. Ramesh, principal secretary to the government, (health and family welfare), adds that people often commit suicide for frivolous reasons and identifies easy access to pesticide as a trigger for these suicide attempts.

Dr Ramesh suggests a commission set up to study suicide trends in AP. “We are planning to extend the service of psychiatrists from district to area hospitals and introduce a course of psychiatry,” says Dr Ramesh. “Sensitising public about mental health through health camps is also on the agenda. I have been considering this idea of a helpline,” says Dr Ramesh, expressing the hope that the government will introduce one helpline soon.



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