Mens Sana Monographs
: 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19--20

Preface to the second monograph

Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh 
 The Editor, Mens Sana Monographs, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Ajai R Singh
14, Shiva Kripa, Trimurty Road, Nahur, Mulund (West), Mumbai 400080, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Singh AR, Singh SA. Preface to the second monograph.Mens Sana Monogr 2004;2:19-20

How to cite this URL:
Singh AR, Singh SA. Preface to the second monograph. Mens Sana Monogr [serial online] 2004 [cited 2019 Oct 22 ];2:19-20
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Full Text

5,00,000 people all over the globe are reported to die of suicide every year. 1,00,000(20%) of them are Indians.

Suicides are under-reported by 20-100%. Which means it is more likely 8,00,000 people all over and 1,60,000 in India must be dying of suicide every year (taking mean of 20-100% reporting i.e. 60%).

Attempted suicides are ten times this figure. This means 8 million all over the globe and 1.6 million in India attempt suicide every year.

We know how much burden is placed on care-givers and health-care de­livery systems when a suicidal attempt is made, besides ofcourse its psychoso­cial sequelae .

Suicides and attempted suicides are reaching epidemic proportions and hence qualify to be made the focus of public health policy in India and abroad.

98% of suicidal deaths have a psychiatric disorder. Therefore better and more affordable psychiatric care is the first important step in suicide eradica­tion. Depression is one psychiatric disorder where suicidal threat is the great­est. Hence specialised Centers to treat Depression, like there are Heart Insti­tutes, are the need for the hour.

Suicide is also found more in the widowed, single or divorced, those with alcohol or drug abuse, those with chronic physical and mental illness, and those living alone or in lodging homes. The key factor is social isolation. Hence meth­ods to reduce social isolation are the second important step in reducing suicide rates.

Social disintegration is another notable factor responsible for the rise in suicides rates in societies. For example, Lithuania reported the world's highest suicide rates following collapse of the former Soviet Union. Similarly suicides are more common in migrants and changing populations, who experience so­cial disintegration (along with social isolation).

Hence to make society suicide-free, a three pronged attack is necessary:

Reduce Social Isolation.Prevent Social Disintegration.Treat Mental Disorder.

Moreover ,the attack will have to be mounted on a war-footing. The need is to first of all identify suicide prevention as public health policy. Just as we think in terms of malaria or polio eradication, or have achieved smallpox eradication, we need to work towards suicide eradication. Just as we have got sensi­tized to the AIDS epidemic, we also need to be aware of the suicide epidemic raging all around us.

If that appears farfetched, just remember that man landing on the moon, wireless communication, digital mobile communication technology, and the internet were all farfetched ideas once upon a time.

The need is to become aware of the problem, not get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, and plan concrete steps towards achieving the goal of making society suicide free.