Karnataka sees rise in suicides due to mental health issues – Deccan Herald

Every day, in 2021, Karnataka witnessed 36 people ending their lives by suicide and out of them five did so because they were suffering from mental health issues. Reports state that men are killing themselves more than women.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCBR), 1,788 people including 1,285 men, 502 females and one transgender, who were suffering from mental health ended their lives in Karnataka in 2021. Depression, alcohol/substance abuse, mental disorder (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), domestic dispute and general anxiety disorders are some of the major reasons for individuals taking the extreme step.
October 10 of every year is marked as World Mental Health Day.
The NCRB report says that 8 per cent of the total deaths in India are reported from Karnataka. However, what is worrying the experts is the steady rise in the rate of suicide due to mental health over the last five years.
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According to a study by Mangaluru-based CHD Group —Karnataka Mental Health Report-2019 – of 30 districts in the state, Raichur (17.7 per cent) reported the highest cases of common mental disorder followed by Bidar (9.3 per cent), Chikkaballapur (7.7 per cent), and Bengaluru Urban (7.5 per cent). The lowest number of cases were reported in Vijayapura (0.6 per cent), Yadgir (0.7 per cent) and Kodagu (0.8 per cent).
Raichur, Chikkaballapur and Bidar also reported the majority of the 1.11 lakh cases of alcohol/substance use disorders reported across Karnataka’s public health institutions. The study also said that in 2018-19 as many as 29,005 consulted for suicidal tendencies in the state, the majority of which was reported from Hassan (25.6 per cent) and Haveri (18.6 per cent).
Dharwad Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Director Mahesh Desai said things have worsened after the pandemic. “Mental health, which is a silent killer, is the new pandemic.”
Even the data from the NCRB shows the same. Karnataka reported 2,455 cases of suicide due to mental health issues in 2020, while in 2021 it was 1,788. The state used to report an average of 1,046 cases of suicides due to mental issues, prior to the pandemic (2016-2019). 
Men killing self more
Desai said, according to a study conducted at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubballi, while women make the highest attempt to end their lives the most, it is the men’s fatality which is highest by suicide. For every 100 mentally ill person’s death, 77 are male, 21 are female, he said. While depression, family/ legal disputes and financial crises are the highest reason for men taking life, for women its family
dispute.
Dr Edmond Fernandes, Director, Edward & Cynthia Institute of Public Health, Mangaluru, said the rise in the number of false domestic violence cases, rape cases, cases under Section 498A and harassment has been pushing men to the brink of collapse. India has no law to protect men and no commission to check excesses by women.
He said people are e-connected instead of being emotionally connected.
“Human interaction is decreasing and becoming digital. People no longer prefer meeting over coffee, or unwinding over pep talks but prefer to operate out of digitally available resources and this is damaging the human ecosystem very deeply. Humans are programmed to interact, not operate in isolated quarters,” he said and asked companies to curtail the work-from-home culture.
He said there is a need for policy changes to make sure that death by suicide due to mental health is prevented.
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