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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 202-203

Suicides versus attempted suicides: What is the truth in the numbers?

Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India

Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2012

Correspondence Address:
Saddichha Sahoo
Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.99935

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How to cite this article:
Sahoo S. Suicides versus attempted suicides: What is the truth in the numbers?. Indian J Community Med 2012;37:202-3

How to cite this URL:
Sahoo S. Suicides versus attempted suicides: What is the truth in the numbers?. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Jun 24];37:202-3. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2012/37/3/202/99935


Suicides continue to take a massive toll on our country even today. [1] The recently released suicides data in India [2] showed that Andhra Pradesh (AP) had one of the largest suicide rates with 11.5% of the cases happening in this state itself. The total numbers of suicides reported were 14,354; however, it is obvious these are on the lower side given the poor reporting rates of such incidents, [3] due to several reasons, some of these being legal. [3] This data however serve an important purpose to track the trend of suicides in the country and the state as well.

Yet, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data fails to shed light on an even more serious concern-that of attempted suicides. We had reported a projected rate of 3.2-3.8 attempted suicides per 1,000 population for males and 3.3-3.7 attempted suicides per 1,000 population for females [3] for the year 2008. Based on the population projection for the state of AP for 2008 (82,375,000 with 41,475,000 males and 40,900,000 females), [3] our calculation should have yielded about 141,015 attempts among males and 143,150 among females with a total of 284,165 attempted suicides. However, in a later report, we observed a total of 24,630 attempted suicides. [4] Although it seems that we may have overestimated the numbers, it may not be actually so. It may be possible that the method of our data collection, that of recording attempted suicides from medical emergencies, may not have given a fair estimation of the actual number. On the other hand, as has already been observed above, most attempted suicides do not get recorded because families fear the social and legal consequences associated with suicide. [3] The other study from Chennai, [5] which was mainly urban-centric, recorded a rate of 1.6% attempted suicides. We believe that our rate of about 3.5 per 1,000 population is a more closer reflection of the actual numbers since it closely matches the hypothesis of suicidal attempts being 10-20 times more common than the completed suicides [6] (284,000 attempted suicides as per our projection and 14,300 suicides as per NCRB data for 2008). In any case, there is an urgent need to recognize this growing epidemic and to develop appropriate programmes to reduce deaths caused by suicide. [7]

   References Top

1.Gouda MRN, Rao SM. Factors related to attempted suicide in davanagere. Indian J Community Med 2008;33:15-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2008. New Delhi: National Crime Records Bureau Ministry of Affairs; 2009. Available from: http://ncrb.nic.in/ADSI2008/suicides-08.pdf. [Last accessed on 2010 May 6].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Saddichha S, Prasad MN, Saxena MK. Attempted suicides in India: A comprehensive look. Arch Suicide Res 2010;14:56-65.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Saddichha S, Vibha P, Saxena MK, Methuku M. Behavioral emergencies in India: A population based epidemiological study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2010;45:589-93.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Bertolote JM, Fleischmann A, De Leo D, Bolhari J, Botega N, De Silva D, et al. Suicide attempts, plans, and ideation in culturally diverse sites: The WHO SUPRE-MISS community survey. Psychol Med 2005;35:1457-65.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.WHO: The World Health Report 2003: Shaping the Future. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Vijaykumar L. Suicide and its prevention: The urgent need in India. Indian J Psychiatry 2007;49:81-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
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