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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 68-69

Suicide and mental illnesses: Bridging the existing gaps

1 Department of Community Medicine, Medical Education Unit, Medical Research Unit, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication24-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aip.aip_57_18

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Suicide and mental illnesses: Bridging the existing gaps. Ann Indian Psychiatry 2019;3:68-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Suicide and mental illnesses: Bridging the existing gaps. Ann Indian Psychiatry [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Feb 7];3:68-9. Available from: https://www.anip.co.in/text.asp?2019/3/1/68/259096


Suicide has been regarded as one of the serious public health concerns and is reported in both developed and developing nations.[1] As a matter of fact, almost four-fifth of the global suicides was reported in the low- and middle-income nations in the year 2016.[1] The recent global estimates revealed that close to 0.8 million people lose their lives to suicide annually.[2] However, what is often forgotten is that for each suicide there are many more people who attempt for the same.[2]

In the union budget for the financial year 2018–2019, a meager 5% increase in allocation to health sector has been reported compared to the last year 2017–2018, which is grossly inadequate.[3] Despite this bitter truth, mental health is given <1% of the overall global financial assistance; and similarly, very minimal financial support is offered even at the national level.[2] Moreover, what further complicates the issue is that we are still not talking openly about the same or about the need that resources are required to respond to this emergency.[1],[4]

In reality, suicide is the ultimate consequence of the ongoing mental health emergency, which has not been appropriately dealt with.[2] Apart from the other factors, social stigma, fear, and lack of awareness about the impaired mental health are playing an important role in affecting the overall response of the health sector.[1],[2] Further, stakeholders have not yet realized the bigger picture of an impaired mental health, as it affects the workforce, the productivity and the growth of a nation.[2],[3],[4]

It has been estimated that for every single dollar spent on the treatment of mood disorders, a four times return can be accomplished, which is a good bargain for the policymakers.[2] In general, suicides and other mental illnesses are preventable, provided efforts are taken to mitigate the stigma and taboos which are attributed to them.[1],[2],[4] Despite the implementation of District Mental Health Program, a lot needs to be done in terms of improving the availability and accessibility of minimal mental health-care services.[4] Acknowledging the role of all the factors, it is high time that collective measures are taken, involving all the concerned sectors to manage the potential causes and the resulting symptoms of mental ailments.[2],[4],[5] To remove stigma and improve community awareness, measures have been taken to train the primary health-care physician on the various aspects of mental illness.[4],[5],[6] However, the best approach will be to empower the local communities, so that people understand and do not neglect the mental illnesses.[1],[2]

In India, religious, cultural and financial hardships have been attributed predominantly for the suicides, and these can be addressed by increasing the awareness about the existing myths and having supportive health sector.[5],[6] Considering the fact that the majority of the general population avail health care from private sector, it is high time to involve them, including the nongovernmental organizations, which can meet the needs of the people beyond the strict timings of the public health sector.[1],[4],[5],[6]

In conclusion, together, we can make a difference and the time has come for all the sectors to join hands and work collectively to deal with the global mental health emergency effectively.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Suicide – Key Facts; 2018. Available from: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide. [Last accessed on 2018 Oct 14].  Back to cited text no. 1
World Health Organization 800,000 People Kill Themselves Every Year. What can we do? 2018. Available from: http://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/800-000-people-kill-themselves-every-year.-what-can-we-do. [Last accessed on 2018 Oct 13].  Back to cited text no. 2
Business Today. Budget 2018: Insufficient Allocation for the Health Sector; 2018. Available from: https://www.businesstoday.in/union-budget-2018-19/news/budget-2018-insufficient-allocation-health-sector-heathcare-scheme/story/269449.html. [Last accessed on 2018 Nov 12].  Back to cited text no. 3
Singh OP. District mental health program – Need to look into strategies in the era of mental health care act, 2017 and moving beyond Bellary model. Indian J Psychiatry 2018;60:163-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Radhakrishnan R, Andrade C. Suicide: An Indian perspective. Indian J Psychiatry 2012;54:304-19.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Public health strategies to ensure reduction in suicide incidence in middle and low income nations. J Neurosci Rural Pract 2015;6:619-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
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