India’s tech hub is a stressed out city

August 30th, 2008 - 12:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 30 (IANS) India’s technology hub is being racked by more and more suicides. Over 200 people, including youngsters between 10 and 14 years, commit suicide every month in the city as they suffer from stress or financial insecurity or loneliness, say police, social workers and doctors.Bangalore police records show that in the first seven months of this year 1,444 people in the city killed themselves. That is an average of 206 suicides a month.

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans), Bangalore, says 10 percent of suicides in Bangalore is by youngsters between 10 and 14 years.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 17 out of every 100,000 people commit suicide in Bangalore, the highest number in the country. In New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, the suicide rates are respectively 10, 12 and 11 per 100,000.

“The statistics show a dangerous trend. The scenario is quite fearsome,” M.J. Thomas, a senior city-based psychiatrist, told IANS.

“Bangalore is full of contradictions,” he said. “Bangalore is one of India’s fastest growing cities. But it is sad that a modern city like Bangalore with the best of amenities witnesses a rapid rise in suicide deaths.”

“In Bangalore all are stressed out. Be it a child, an IT professional or a migrant labour, the city does not provide social and mental security to its wide range of population,” said Lata Jacob, a counsellor at Sahai Tele-counselling for suicide prevention.

The helpline service was started in 2002 at the initiative of Nimhans, Rotary Bangalore East, and Medico Pastoral Association, Bangalore.

“Most of our callers suffer from stress and a sense of loneliness and deprivation. Often we counsel the callers over the phone and if one is ready to visit us personally we encourage them to do so. Till date we have counselled around 3,600 persons,” added Lata.

A recent Nimhans study on reasons for the increasing number of suicides in the city showed that severe stress, competition at workplace and lack of economic security were among the causes of most suicides.

The study was conduced in collaboration with Bangalore city police and 12 major hospitals.

According to Nimhans, 57 percent of suicides are sudden acts of frustration and thus most of the families are hardly aware that a member of their family is contemplating suicide.

Suicide deaths in the city have increased astronomically after the IT boom in Bangalore, say experts.

“Work-related insecurity, extended working hours and stringent deadlines contribute to rising number of suicides in the city. No one has time for anyone. We are all becoming very, very self-centric, severing us from all human bonding and love. Thus a sense of insecurity is driving many to end their lives,” says Thomas.

The rising stress level of IT professionals has prompted several top corporate houses to introduce yoga and meditation sessions in office, celebration of festivals in offices and increase in vacation period to help employees beat the stress.

Last year 2,430 cases of suicides were reported in Bangalore which, WHO says, is highest in the country. In 2006, the number of suicides was 2,008.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 10 percent of suicides in the world occur in India. NCRB states that almost 100,000 people commit suicide in the country every year.

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