Self-Harm a Top Health Problem for Indian Men

Men in India are at high risk for self harm caused by mental trauma, according to an alarming new study. Suicide and suicide attempts rose so sharply among Indian males that it’s now one of the country’s most serious health problems. The new Global Burden of Disease report says that self harm among Indian men rose by 150 percent between 1990 and 2013.

Researchers say that the dramatic rise in self-harm in India is a contrast to some other densely populated countries. “This is a very serious issue for a democracy like India,” said Novojit Roy, a professor at Bhabha Atomic Research Hospital, Mumbai and one of the study’s co-authors. “In another high population country like China, the number of self harm cases is going down.”

Women Affected Too

Indian women face their own challenges, with “depressive disorders as the second biggest causes of morbidity among them between 1990 and 2013. Both men and women contribute to the overall suicide rate in India, which the World Health Organization noted was the highest in the world as of 2012. In that year, 158,098 Indian men and 99.977 women ended their lives, bringing the country’s suicide rate to 21.1 per 100,000 people. In comparison, the suicide rate in the United States for 2013 was 12.6 per 100,000 according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Risk factors for suicide include depression and other mental disorders, substance abuse, and a history of family violence. People with a prior suicide attempt also have a higher likelihood of trying again.

Avoidance Instead of Treatment

Treatment for underlying issues helps prevent suicide, but a research review in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that many Indians struggling with mild to moderate depression deal with it through avoidance rather than seeking treatment. The problem can grow through lack of proper treatment, putting those individuals at a higher suicide risk. According to the review, two-thirds of depressed patients in one study exhibited suicidal behavior.

If you have any risk factors for suicide, getting treatment for underlying issues like depression, family turmoil or substance abuse helps you avoid self harm. WebPsychology has some excellent information to help you determine whether you could benefit from therapy if you’re feeling depressed but are not quite sure whether you need help. The site also has a Find a Therapist resource to help you locate a professional in your area.

If you ever feel like harming yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hours at day at 1-800-273-TALK.