‘Act of causing one’s own death’: That’s the textbook definition of ‘suicide’. But this definition doesn’t narrate the whole story. We’re writing this in the wake of the recent death of 24-year-old Pawanjeet Kohli, who jumped off the Bandra-Worli Sea link early on Monday morning. It is another tragic story where a young adult considers ending his life better than dealing with the problems in life. Why is this city facing situations like these more often than ever? Be it the sea link case or the young man jumping from Taj Lands End after capturing the wretched situation on camera a few months ago, the rationale behind this particular scenario needs to be analysed. Let’s look at a few numbers from the past.
As reported in Mumbai Mirror, Psychiatrist Harish Shetty said young love, inability to accept rejection, parents' inability to read signs of depression and easy access to alcohol all contributed to this tragic death. "It is a dangerous cocktail. These young men don't have the emotional maturity and the only advice they get is from their peer group," he said, and added that there was a large window between Pawanjeet slipping into depression and the suicide and this should have been used to support him and get him back on his feet. Shetty said it would be foolish to blame the girl for the suicide. "That she was double-dating or that she ditched Pawanjeet are all irrelevant facts. At such a young age, both men and women find it difficult to make choices. What we need to focus on is how to handle such impressionable and fragile minds and prevent such tragedies in the future," he said.
Related Article- Suicides in India
How common are suicide cases?
According to a Finnish survey, one out of five people die due to suicide. In India, according to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) survey, in 2015, one student commits suicide every hour. Around 8,934 cases were reported. In five years till 2015, 39,775 students have ended their lives. About 40,000 students committed suicide in 5 years. Medical Journal Lancet reported in 2012 that the age group of 15 to 29 is more prone to commit suicide in India.
In Maharashtra, 1230 students ended their lives. Which means, in 2015, 14 per cent of the cases reported were from Maharashtra.
In 2013,2014 and 2015, 3,637 cases were reported in Mumbai out of which 2304 were men and 1333 were women.
These numbers are unnerving. The most common reasons which come to light are depression, psychological imbalance, impulsiveness, philosophical desire to die, external trauma, in need of help but nobody to reach out to, and a grave mistake they think there’s no escaping. These common reasons push a person to a dark corner which leads to a tragic end.
13 Reasons Why
An American TV show called '13 Reasons Why' was released in March earlier this year and it depicts the story of a young life deciding to call it quits. This show took viewers by a storm as the protagonist commits suicide but leaves 13 tapes behind to narrate her story and tell everybody why she ended her life. We might say that this particular show doesn't concern India but people need to understand why youngsters are going to a dark corner which they can't escape from.
Family members, professors, friends need to address this grave problem. Communication is the most important factor when it comes to helping people in need. Right from identifying the problem to finding a solution to it, this procedure needs to be dealt with very delicately. Mumbai needs to address suicide with a strong agenda. We can't lose our youth to unspoken problems.
Before taking that extreme step, give one of them a call.
Here are a few helpline numbers for people in need
The Samaritans Mumbai – 022 6464 3267, 022 6565 3267, 022 6565 3247
Aasra – 91-22-27546669
iCall, Mumbai – +91 22 2556 3291
Suicide prevention helpline number- 8002094353