By Arul Louis, New York, Sep 5 IANS | 12 days ago

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that limiting access to pesticides can help reduce the number of suicides.


A report released Thursday said that consuming pesticides "is among the most common methods of suicide globally, and is of particular concern in rural agricultural areas in the South-East Asia Region" in which it included India.

"Many suicides," the WHO said, "happen impulsively and, in such circumstances, easy access to a means of suicide-such as pesticides or firearms can make the difference as to whether a person lives or dies."

Globally, the report said, 800,000 people die by suicide every year and estimates that about 30 percent of them kill themselves by consuming pesticides, most of them in low and middle income countries.

"Pesticide restriction, though difficult, is often more feasible to implement than restricting other means of committing suicide and, therefore, would have major implications for prevention."

Suicide rates are highest in people aged 70 years and over and the second leading cause of death in youth aged 15 to 29 years globally.

"This report is a call for action to address a large public health problem which has been shrouded in taboo for far too long" said Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO.

According to the report, the rate of suicides in India has come down between 2000 and 2012 by 9.2 percent, from 23.3 per thousand to 21.1. There was a steep fall of 19.1 percent, from 20.3 per thousand to 16.4 among women and 1.6 percent among men, from 26.2 per thousand to 25.8.

In 2012, 258,075 people in India committed suicide; of them, 158,098 were men and 99,977 women.

The age group most vulnerable in India is 15 to 29 years, with a suicide rate of 35.5 per thousand. This age group has the highest rate for women - 36.1 per thousand, falling to 17.2 in the next age group of 30 to 49 years. However, for men the highest rate is in the 30 to 49 years age bracket - 38 per thousand; in 15 to 29 years group, the rate is 34.9.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at arulouis@yahoo.com)

(Posted on 05-09-2014)

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