Suicide Prevention Policy: 1st in India

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently unveiled the nation’s first national suicide prevention strategy, with the goal of reducing suicide mortality by 10% by 2030.

National Suicide Prevention Strategy

The plan is in keeping with the WHO’s South East Asia Region Suicide Prevention Strategy.


The plan generally aims to establish,

  • Suicide prevention strategies that are effective within the next three years.
  • Within the next five years, create psychiatric outpatient clinics that will offer suicide prevention services through the District Mental Health Programme in every district.
  • Within the next eight years, implement a mental health curriculum across all educational institutions.
  • It includes creating standards for ethical media coverage of suicides as well as limiting access to suicide tools through multi-sectoral partnerships and time-bound action plans.
  • Building community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention are priorities.


  • The fact that the government has recognised suicide as a problem is crucial.
  • We now have a well-thought-out strategy that involves multi-sectoral collaborations since only by integrating different sectors would a strategy be successful.
  • The strategy should now be distributed to the States, who should then create action plans that are appropriate for their own local context before cascading to the district, primary health, and community levels.

Strategy in South-east Asian Region


  • Improve governance, strong leadership, and advocacy for suicide prevention.
  • To provide all-inclusive, responsive, and integrated social and mental health services in community-based settings to prevent suicides.
  • To put into action plans to advance mental, social, and physical health and wellbeing with a view to preventing suicides
  • To improve suicide research, evidence, and information systems.

Suicide rates in India

  • The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report 2021 states that India’s suicide rate is rapidly rising.
  • Delhi has the highest number of suicides (2,840).


  1. Family Issues, 33.2% (other than marriage-related problems)
  2. 4.8%: Problems in marriage
  3. 18.6%: Disease
  4. 42,004 victims (25.6 percent of the total) were wage earners. One in four of the 1, 64,033 suicide victims who were reported in 2021 were wage earners.
  5. The top groups of people who died by suicide in 2021 were self-employed people, the unemployed, and those working in the agricultural industry.
  6. Suicides are undoubtedly identified in the study as a serious public health concern in India that warrants more epidemiological investigation.


  • Underreporting of these occurrences out of fear of social stigma and occasionally to avoid going through the legal system
  • A fear of legal action: Suicide is a crime under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The hesitation to seek assistance is frequently caused by the worry of being punished and the extra burden of dealing with the police and courts.
  • Social stigma: As a result of the stigma attached to suicide, the NCRB drastically underreports the actual suicide rate. 

How to Prevent Suicide?

  • Boost the economy’s foundation: Boosting household financial stability and implementing housing stabilisation measures.
  • Strengthening the provision of suicide prevention services: Reduced provider shortages in marginalised areas; inclusion of mental health disorders in health insurance policies; safer suicide care through system change.
  • Create safe settings by using the following strategies: – Organizational rules and culture and Community-based initiatives to curb excessive alcohol consumption
  • Encourage connection through: Peer norm programmes; community engagement initiatives
  • In still coping and problem-solving techniques by: courses in social and emotional learning and courses on family relationships and parenting techniques
  • A few strategies to help those who are vulnerable to harm are gatekeeper training, crisis intervention, treatment for suicidal individuals, and treatment to stop re-attempts.


  • Holistic approach: It is essential to promote national and sectoral study into the causes of the rising suicide mortality as well as proposals for culturally and economically acceptable ways to assist address the issue.
  • Mass media counselling: In times of adversity, the media must encourage health-seeking behaviour, provide accurate information, and refute any possible suicide myths.
  • Evidence-based interventions: Keep in mind the needs of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups, such as women and young people, by providing the necessary support networks, which can lower the number of fatalities and create a more effective response system.
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