Analysis required for better understanding of causal factors’
: Lack of counselling has been attributed for high incidents of persons suffering from illness committing suicides in the State.
The percentage of people committing suicide due to illness in Karnataka is much higher than the national average, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics reveal. While national average is 19.6 per cent, Karnataka’s average is more than 27 per cent, with Incidentally, illnesses accounting for 17.56 per cent of suicides in Bangalore city.
This rate, experts say is due to a lack of counselling to help those diagnosed with illnesses to help cope with the situation. They also say counselling for patients suffering from serious or prolonged illnesses is crucial.
According to the NCRB data, prolonged illnesses contribute the largest chunk — 2,387 of 3,057 cases.
Terminal illnesses are one of the known causes for suicides, G. Gururaj, professor and head, Centre for Public Health, NIMHANS, explained. “There is a definite need for increasing counselling services in the public and private sectors. Apart from the availability, it is also vital to ensure good quality services that can help patients as well as their families develop support mechanisms,” he said.
Dr. Gururaj said a lot of suicides were reported in rural areas and remote districts where these services are deficient.
“There is a greater need for counselling in such areas. There are not enough social workers and psychologists and some doctors at the hospitals are not trained properly to counsel patients,” he said.
While experts said the available services may be better in cities when compared to remote parts, counselling is still very much required across the State.
Psychologist Sridhar Murthy believes another issue is the lack of access to counselling.
The second highest contributing category among illnesses is “insanity”, according to the statistics. However, Mr. Murthy says it should be termed depression, which leads to a sense of hopelessness and drives many to take such extreme steps.
Causes not accurately known
Experts agreed that while the statistics may give a general idea about the causes, they cannot be termed accurate as suicides usually have multiple causes and these are not known many times. “To have a better understanding of the causal factors, an extensive analysis is required,” they said.