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Monday, August 14, 2017

IIIT Bangalore student jumps from 7th floor, dies - Asia net

By Team Asianet Newsable | 08:53 PM August 11, 2017

  • 22-year-old Sai Sarat was pursuing MTech in Integrated Course in IIIT in Bengaluru
  • Sarat allegedly jumped off the seventh floor of the hostel in Electronic City at 5 am on August 11
  • Reason for the death is not known yet, no death note was found 
Sai Sarat, a student of Integrated M.Tech in IIIT Bangalore jumped from the seventh floor of his hostel and was found dead.
22-year-old Sai Sarat hailed from Andhra Pradesh and was staying in a hostel near Electronic City in Bengaluru. He jumped from the hostel at 5 am on August 11. The reason for the death is not known yet.

Reports in Public TV said that Sarat was good in studies and did not have any bad remark as a student. He was in the fourth year of the integrated MTech Course in IIIT. He allegedly chose to jump when all his friends and hostel inmates were in sleep.
Sai Sarat's father Kodanda Reddy is an officer in the Income Tax Department in Andhra Pradesh. The family is financially well-settled. Even the College authority has stated that Sarat was a good student.

A case in this regard has been booked by the Electronic City Police.

After Kavya's death in Alva's School, who was found hanging in her hostel room, many other incidents were reported where students in hostel had allegedly committed suicide.

Especially in Sarat's case, there were no complaints about him in studies or any other problem specified. This death looks mysterious and so far there is no mention about any death note.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Zero suicide: not a utopian goal - The Hindu

Zero suicide: not a utopian goal

AUGUST 06, 2017 23:58 IS

A systems-based approach is needed, and we need to start now

Mumbai: Let me start bluntly. We sit atop the global suicide table. But we are in denial of this fact, despite annual and decadal growth of suicide and suicide attempts.

For last the few months, a fundamental question has lurked in my disrupted mind. (I am a sufferer of bipolar disorder for decades. I have lived life with suicidal ideation and more than one failed suicide attempt.) Has the time arrived for the nation to do an about-turn, to usher in a paradigm shift in the way suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and completed suicide is viewed in the country? Can we take a U-turn adopting a Mission Zero Suicide India?

When I first broached this idea in a conference called, ‘Depression: Let us Talk’ on this year’s World Health Day celebration at Bombay Hospital, a noted psychiatrist friend whispered in my ears, “Zero suicide is utopia.”
But I dare to say that this mission is neither utopian nor a pipe-dream. It is aspirational and audacious, but it is a goal whose time has come.

Setting goals
For a start, it aims to get us to shed old beliefs and dogmas about suicide. It calls for eschewing incrementalism in favour of radical, transformational, and systematic preventive agenda. In the Indian context, it also means letting go of the long-held belief that some people are programmed to commit suicide, that in a country of 130 crore persons, it is inevitable that some will invariably take their lives. In a nutshell, it calls for brand new thinking in suicide care, one in which suicide elimination becomes the central goal at national, state, city and village levels.

Why must we aim for elimination instead of reduction?
If instead of banishing suicide, the national agenda is to reduce it below, say, 1 per 10,000, it would still be commendable. But think: what if that one is your spouse? Your parent or your child? Your friend? The goal has humungous personal, familial, societal, and national benefits. Is that not it in itself a sufficient reason?

I will return to this a little later. Let us first get an idea of how serious the Indian suicide problem is.

                            Akhileshwar Sahay.  

The numbers
While the causes — or sets of causes — of suicide are complex, analysis of the patterns, causes, and effects need not be. Unfortunately, there are no reliable statistics of how many Indians commit suicide annually. Data on suicide attempts is so opaque that any attempt to understand it is like groping inside a black box in the dark.

Here is what we do know.
The first representative research on the prevalence of suicide in India, by my friend Dr. Vikram Patel and his colleagues, was published in the reputed British medical journal Lancet in 2012. The paper said that in 2010, an estimated 1,87,000 persons aged 15 years or older committed suicide (1,15,000 men and 72,000 women). The age-standardised suicide rate per 1,00,000 is 26.3 for men and 17.5 for women. The worst finding, for me, is 40% (45,100 of 1,14,800) of suicide deaths in men and 56% (40,500 of 72,100) in women occurred between ages 15 and 29.

If this is not damning enough, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report, Preventing Suicide: A Global Perspective, published by WHO in 2014, reported that 2,58,057 (158,098 men and 99,977 women, 61.26%:38.74%) Indians committed suicide in 2012, the largest number for any country in the world. India is the secondmost-populous country, but the absolute number is much higher than China, the most populous. It also confirmed the findings of the Lancet study about the very high suicide rate in the 15–29 age group. The study added the caveat that the rate of suicide in developing countries, including India, was highly underreported.

WHO estimates of global suicide numbers are between 800,000 to a million people a year. Indian suicides, it says, are more than 25% of global numbers. (Whereas we are around 17% of the world’s population.)

Official numbers in India, however, differ. The latest suicide data, for the year 2015, compiled by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), puts the total number of suicides at a measly 1,33,623, a little more than half the WHO number. It does admit, though, to an increase of 17.3% since 2005 (when there were around 1,13,914 suicides). The data says the male to female ratio for 2015 was 68.5%:31.5%, a significantly greater ratio of male suicides than the WHO figures.

The flaws in our data
However hard I attempt to digest this data, even granting it the status of a half-truth, it still presents itself to me as a blatant lie perpetrated on the nation. I have informed reasons to say so.

One, in a country where citizens are taught to fear the police, data calculated from police records is bound to be unreliable. Two, suicide numbers reported by WHO and in Lancet research mock the veracity of NCRB data. Three, Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises suicide attempts, resulting in gross underreporting of suicides and attempted suicides. Four, aside from the law, the stigma stops families from reporting suicide and suicide attempts. Five, our unreliable death registration process ensures that a large number of actual suicides simply die uncounted.

More than the numerical blunder, NCRB data scores atrociously high on the callousness with which it reports the causes of suicide. It lists a disparate set of 29 reasons (including nine sub-reasons) in the heartless manner that only the Indian police system is capable of. They are, indebtedness, four distinct marriage-related issues, family problems, impotency, five chronic illnesses, bereavement, drug abuse/alcohol addiction, fall in social reputation, failure in love affairs, poverty, unemployment, property dispute, illicit relation, physical abuse and career problems. Ironically, one of the causes it lists is the insane word ‘insanity.’ (The correct term is mental illness; words like insanity and lunacy — as in the Luncacy Act, 1912 — do not have a place in independent India.

Also, while providing this large inventory of reasons, NCRB misses the big picture. That is, in every reason for suicide reported by it, stress, distress and depression are constants.

An alternative study
Dismayed by the paucity of reliable data, the lack of authenticity of the aetiology, and, if I may say so, the incompetence of the NCRB, I conducted my own small study. I recorded media-reported suicides, along with possible reasons for the suicides, of the current year. The size of my sample is a little over 2,000. The people varied from an eight-year-old child in north-east India to an 85-year-old from Mumbai.

The list included school, college, nursing, medical and engineering students (including from the prestigious IITs and Banaras Hindu University), aspiring PhDs, journalists, blue- and white-collar workers, labourers, maids, farmers, government employees, film and TV actors, military, paramilitary and other uniformed personnel, homemakers, wives and husbands, even suicides by full families, including grandparents and even a great-grandfather. They represented both sides of the so-called ‘Bharat versus India’ schism. Their circumstances and their methods differed: some were on impulse and others clearly pre-meditated or well-planned, some seemed of ‘sound mind’ and others seemed in some way mentally unstable to those who knew them.

But there was one strong causative factor unifying all the cases: extreme distress and stress.

Some learnings from my data and other sources are sobering.
Every hour, two, may be more, young Indians commit suicide.
Every year, more than 20,000 Indian homemakers — housewives in older parlance — take their lives.

As per a Government of India affidavit to the Supreme Court in 2017, during recent years, 12,000 farmers have committed suicide annually.

While suicide rates in the 30-50 age group are alarming, and geriatric suicide too shows an uptick, the rate in the 15–29 age group has reached monstrous proportions.

The economic imperative
Naysayers will say that none of these is a valid reason to find money in the exchequer for costly solutions like the elimination of suicide.

I humbly posit that aside from the humanitarian reasons, there is a good economic reason to address the issue. Here are my ballpark numbers and reasoning.

Based on the WHO, Lancet, and NCRB data, if I conservatively estimate an annual suicide number of 2,00,000, with a 35-year median age, the lifetime annual productivity loss to the nation is 50 lakh person-years.

Assuming — again, conservatively — that as many as 50% of those who commit suicide annually would have had no earnings if they had lived their full lifespans, the approximate loss to the economy at current per capita income from the loss of the other 50% would be ₹25,000 crore.
These numbers do not slow down: next year another 2,00,000 people will get added to the count, and the next, adding to the lifetime economic loss. It is a vicious cycle.
It makes sound economic sense, in other words, to eliminate suicide.

Is it possible?
What would Mission Zero Suicide entail? Is it even workable in Indian conditions?

Mission Zero Suicide is a systems-based approach that that starts by saying every suicide death is preventable. It employs a holistic strategy for suicide prevention: one that is timely, patient-centric, and equitable.

It then asks, what proximate and long-term strategies and interventions are needed to disarm, wean away, or engineer away a suicidal person from stress, distress, depression, anxiety, a deep sense of loneliness, nothingness, social and other alienation, traumatic conditions and/or other severe psychiatric disorders that propel humans towards suicidal ideation and suicide attempts?

Has such an approach ever worked?
Let me give two examples in which I believe the learnings are replicable.
In the first, the Henry Ford Health System, a non-profit healthcare provider in Detroit, Michigan, USA, introduced an innovative holistic suicide care system in 2001, called Perfect Depression Care Intervention. The approach included six major tactics: committing to perfection (zero care-processes defects, or zero suicides) as a goal; mapping current care processes and developing a clear vision of how patient care must change; partnering with patients to ensure their voice in care redesign; conceptualising, designing, and testing strategies for improvement in four areas identified in the mapping of current care (patient partnership, clinical practice, access to care, and information systems); implementing relevant measures of care quality, continually assessing progress, adjusting the plan as needed, communicating the results and celebrating the victories.

This systematic quality improvement brought about a dramatic reduction in suicide; its high points were in 2008 and 2009, which witnessed zero suicides; since then, while the rate has inched up to 5%, but that number is less than half the US national average.

Detroit’s success has propelled many organisations, cities and countries in the Americas, Europe and Oceania to pursue zero suicide missions. Theirs is not a magic bullet; to achieve even half Detroit’s success, and to sustain it, needs coherent strategy and dogged pursuit. Also, one must insulate such programmes from vested interests, like the pharma industry.

The second example did not start with suicide prevention. Sweden’s Vision Zero’s initial premise was that traffic deaths and car accidents were unacceptable, that the state should go to great lengths to prevent them. Through an act of Parliament in 1997, Sweden called for an end to deaths and serious injuries on Swedish roads.

The improvement happened because of a drastic change of thinking. It widened the responsibility for road safety, from the road user alone, to include road designers. The vision was implemented around ‘plank’ strategies, and it had an action plan that helped it focus. The results: from seven road deaths per 100,000 population in 1997, today they are around two. Vision Zero thinking is now embedded in every part of Swedish life.
In 2008, Sweden adopted Vision Zero for suicide prevention, with these nine strategic interventions.
Promoting better life opportunities in order to support the groups that are most in need

Minimising alcohol consumption in target and high-risk groups
Reducing the availability of means to commit suicide
Educating gatekeepers about effective management of persons with suicide risks
Supporting medical, psychological and psychosocial services in suicide prevention
Disseminating knowledge about evidence-based methods for reducing suicide
Raising competence of key healthcare and prison staff who care for people with suicidal problems
Analysis of suicide cases which occurred within the healthcare system and 28 days after discharge
Supporting voluntary organisations.

A key feature of Vision Zero Suicide is the promotion of the ideal: that suicide is everyone’s responsibility, and first-aid training to help suicidal persons is provided for every citizen. Though it has not met its desired success rate, application of its methods has spread to Singapore, the USA and Europe and West Asia.

Intent, I must add, is not enough.

For example, America as a whole has employed the most tools for suicide prevention, right down to the provincial level, and including a 24/7 national helpline, but in the last decade, the suicide rate has gone up, not down. Thomas Insel, long-time (and now former) director of the USA’s National Institute of Mental Health, considers this his key sorrow.

A plan for India
What can we learn from initiatives in other parts of the world, and replicate here in India?
This is my nine-point programme for India. Let’s call it Nine to Zero.
Make the elimination of suicide not just a national mission but also every citizen’s mission
Jump-start the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention in public, private and NGO-coalition mode
Invest in multidisciplinary research: suicide has a complex aetiology
Think global but act local: Indian states are as different from each other, if not more, than some countries are, and one size will not fit all
A dovetailed suicide prevention strategy is needed at central, state, city and village level; this is a long-haul effort
Learn from the successes and failures of others
and urgently create a National Task force for formulating suicide prevention strategies and implementation plans
Adopt an empirical, evidence-based approach to intervention
Reduce access to the means of suicide, and use technology (to count suicides and suicide attempts, as well as to disseminate why and how it has to be eliminated) and introduce multidisciplinary review of suicide attempts
There is a crying need for a best practices communication strategy, including for media and social media

And Point Ten, or should I say, Point Zero: we must start now.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Former IIT Kanpur student sits on railway track to end life, rescued - TNN

Abhinav Malhotra | TNN | Updated: Aug 5, 2017, 11:32 PM IST

KANPUR: An ex-student of IIT-Kanpur allegedly tried to commit suicide by sitting on the railway track near institute campus in wait for a train to arrive. The former IITian took the extreme step on Friday night. He was saved by the railway staff who had spotted him. He was later handed handed him over to Kalyanpur police. The police during interrogation came to know that Ravi Kant (name changed) was upset ever since he was not getting a document from IIT-Kanpur which he was requiring to get job abroad. The IIT-Kanpur administration however, said that the ex-student was perturbed over some issue which was not related to any administrative work at the institute.

The Kalyanpur police learnt that the former IITian had passed out from the institute in June 2017. Police said that since it was taking sometime in the processing of the documents at IIT-Kanpur, he was perturbed. "It seems more over he was mentally engrossed with some personal issue which he was not able to express before us. When police came to know about that this, student had gone to attempt suicide at railway track near IIT-K, he was rescued and brought to Kalyanpur police station where he was counselled. His family had been informed about the incident late on Friday night itself. As his family is in Ranchi, he was handed over to a local guardian at about 2 am", said Circle Officer, Kalyanpur, Rajnish Verma while talking to TOI. He said that the ex-student was spotted at the railway tracks 9 pm on Friday. 

"He was reluctant to talk and mention about his problem. He was showing haste in going home. He was counselled a lot and got a bit comfortable after which he was made to eat dinner", the official said.

The IIT-Kanpur authorities informed TOI that the student had passed out in June this year and there is no pending administrative work related to this ex-student. Assistant Registrar, Information Cell (IIT-K), Sarang Nandedkar told TOI that the student is now an alumnus and there is no administrative delay which has caused inconvenience to him. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

IITs take initiative to reduce suicide among students - DNA

DNA CORRESPONDENT | Fri, 28 Jul 2017-07:35am , New Delhi , DNA

Twelve students have committed suicide and some attempted at suicide across various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the country in last three years.

5 such cases were reported in 2015, 4 cases in 2014, and 3 in 2016. This information was revealed by minister of state, human resource development, Mahendra Nath Pandey, in response to a written question in Parliament on Thursday.
According to the ministry, the reasons vary from academic stress to domestic and personal reasons. The institutions themselves, however realise that the problem is serious. Hence, the institutions have started taking various initiatives to make the students feel comfortable, specially freshers and those who have a problem with the medium of learning.

"IITs have been taking various steps such as peer assisted learning, special languages classes for students who need help with studies, in order to ease the academic stress. In addition to this, IITs also conduct workshops/ seminars on wellness, regular sessions on Yoga, induction programmes, extracurricular activities, including sports and cultural activities, to create a friendly environment for students," the minister added.

IIT Delhi, which is one of the oldest IITs in the country and gets students from various parts of the country, is going to pay special attention to its first year students from this year. From their orientation session to extra-curricular activities, the institute is taking some new initiatives.

"We have appointed senior students as guides for first year students. These students will go around at hostels in the night after 8 p.m. to help students with studies. Since the class size in IITs is big, its is difficult to give special attention to students, such efforts will help. This will also keep the stress off students," a professor at IIT Delhi said.

IIT Ropar, which is one of the new age IITs is also going to organise a two-week induction programme for freshers to introduce them to the institute, departments, facilities and life on campus. Other than these, one of the most important reasons for this special extended induction programme is to get the students engaged in extra-curricular activities like sports, yoga and to enhance their social & team skills.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

India Has the Highest Suicide Rate Among Youth. Here’s How You Can Help Someone Who’s Struggling

India Has the Highest Suicide Rate Among Youth. Here’s How You Can Help Someone Who’s Struggling

It is vital that organisations and governments receive support to promote mental health education and promote coping skills in youth.

Approximately half of India’s 1.2 billion people are under the age of 26, and by 2020 we are forecast to be the youngest country in the world, with a median age of 29 years. With this tremendous forecast, it becomes imperative to ensure an environment which promotes positive well-being. Unfortunately, India has the highest suicide rate in the world among the youth standing at 35.5 per 100,000 people for 2012, the last year for which numbers are available.

The reason for such high numbers can be attributed to lack of economic, social, and emotional resources. More specifically, academic pressure, workplace stress, social pressures, modernisation of urban centers, relationship concerns, and the breakdown of support systems. Some researchers have attributed the rise of youth suicide to urbanisation and the breakdown of the traditional large family support system. The clash of values within families is an important factor for young people in their lives. 

As young Indians become more progressive, their traditionalist households become less supportive of their choices pertaining to financial independence, marriage age, premarital sex, rehabilitation and taking care of the elderly.

Emile Durkheim (1966) described suicide as one of the crudest expressions of social phenomenon. Suicide, or the act of deliberately ending one’s own life, is a public health concern and a growing one among the younger age bracket. There are several risk factors that come into play that may be responsible for a suicidal attempt or completion of suicide. Some of those many factors include-
  • being diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or schizophrenia
  • previous suicide attempts
  • substance abuse
  • burden of financial crisis
  • family history of suicide
  • poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction
  • history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse
  • being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer or HIV
  • being socially discriminated or ostracised
  • being exposed to suicidal behaviour
There is a notable gender difference in the suicidal attempts and completion of suicide. Women are four times more likely than men to attempt suicide (make an attempt but not complete), whereas, men are twice more likely than women to complete the act of suicide. India is quoted to experience the highest rate of suicide among the age bracket of 15-29 years.

This leaves an impact on the development and well-being of individuals, societies and nations. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2015 quoted that every hour one student commits suicide in India. Parents and schools cannot prepare children mentally and psychologically for the many triggers in the world. Hence it is imperative that as a society we work to promote a positive environment. It is vital that organisations and governments receive support to promote mental health education and promote coping skills in youth.

Suicide is preventable.
The striking numbers around youth suicide are shameful!
There is about 1 suicide occurring every 40 seconds across the globe. Together, we must all stand up, speak up, and advocate for better policies and implementation of resources for mental health. We must view suicide as a condition needing treatment, not as a punishment. A multi-pronged approach must be taken to decrease the world’s suicide rate. Mental health education and resources for dealing with symptoms of mental health should be taught and promoted from an early age. Doing so will provide an avenue for the maintenance of dignity and help-seeking behavior.

If you know someone who is feeling suicidal or is emotionally distressed, tell them that you care for them. Being an active listener and being aware of signs of distress can help you to be there and make the person realise that you will help them and that they deserve to be helped. Being empathetic helps the person feel understood and heard. It is important to realise that feeling suicidal is not the nature of the person but a mere state of mind. People feel suicidal because they feel nothing else will work out and their death will solve the problem. Suicidal thoughts are often linked with a mental disorder and can be treated well. These are some ways we can help.

In India, suicide is more of a social and public health objective than a traditional exercise in the mental health sector. Mental health professionals, doctors and counselors can be reached out to manage suicidal tendencies. The proactive steps taken by several such professionals in the capacity of leaders has helped and has the potential to help save thousands of lives. There are several organisations, crisis centers and suicide prevention helplines that are offering a great support to the emotionally distressed and those individuals who feel suicidal. Some of the helplines that may be approached in times of need are:

The Samaritans Mumbai
– 022 6464 3267, 022 6565 3267, 022 6565 3247Email:
Address – 402, Jasmine Apartments
Opposite Kala Kendra, Dadasaheb Phalke Road
Dadar (E) 400014

MINDS Gujarat– 
BHavnagar and Vadodara, 

Police Control Room, 

+91 22 2556 3291, 
e-mail –

Thanal– KERALA
0495 237 1100
E-mail –
Address – Iqra Hospital
Calicut 673009

+91-480 – 2820091
Address – Vidya Jothi
Cathedral Junction
Irinjalakuda 680 685

+91 484 2448830
E-mail –
Address – Near Ambedkar Park
Peruvaram Road
North Paravur 683 513

079 2630 5544, 079 2630 0222
Address – B12 Nilamber Complex
H.L. Commerce College Road
Ahmedabad 380 006

040 790 4646
E-mail –
Address – 1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas
Sindhi Colony
S.P. Road
Secunderabad 500003

Lifeline Foundation– 
+91 33 24637401, +91 33 24637432
Address – 17/1A Alipore Road
Sarat Bose Road 700 027

Address – Sumaitri
Aradhana Hostel Complex
No. 1 Bhagwan Das Lane
Bhagwan Das Road
New Delhi

91- 484 – 2540530
E-mail –
Address – ICTA Shantigram
Changampuzha Nagar (P.O.)
Kochi 682 033

Connecting India– 
9922001122, 18002094353
Website –
Address – Connecting Trust
Dastur Girls School
Moledina Road
Pune 411001

Nagpur Suicide Prevention Helpline – 

91-44-2464 0050, 91-44-2464 0060
E-mail –
Address – #11, Park View Road
R.A. Puram
Chennai 600028

Maitreyi– +91-413-339999
Address – 255 Thyagumudali Street

Will you join us in promoting mental health to end the stigma and decrease the suicide rate in India?

Written by Pragya Lodha, Associate Programme Developer, The MINDS Foundation and Raghu K Appasani, Founder and CEO, The MINDS Foundation