Men more prone than women to commit suicide: NCRB report


Their reluctance to seek help is a factor behind this

Men are more prone to suicide than women, says the report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2020.

In 2020, India reported 1.53 lakh cases of suicide out of which 1.08 lakh (70.9 percent) were by men. Among men, 22.6 percent were in the 18-30 age group and 23.8 percent were in the 30-45 age group. Family problems was the major cause of suicide in cities, which accounted for 34.0  per cent of suicides by men

Dr Veena A. Satyanaryana, associate professor of clinical psychology at NIMHANS, discussed the various reasons that drive men to attempt suicide. “It is true that men are more prone to attempt suicide than women. The reason for suicide is very complex. It is a combination of things. Men tend to internalize issues. They prefer not to speak about them, and they don’t seek help. Middle-aged men, in general, have a lot of societal pressure. The environment they grew up in during young age makes talking about emotions a sort of taboo.”

Another reason for the larger number of suicides is toxic masculinity. Dr Khushbo Baxi, a practising counselling psychologist, said: “From a very young age, boys are fed with this notion that they are supposed to be strong. This gets engraved in their minds.” Boys are told that one is masculine only if you don’t cry or get emotional.

“They aren’t self-aware in many cases, and they don’t want to talk about their feelings. For them, taking help is a sign of weakness. They avoid it completely, Baxi said.” Out of all the patients she deals with, only 5 percent are men.

Preetpal Singh Bhatia, 19, a student, said: “I feel boys of my age face a lot of pressure from family and society. ‘Study hard, make a career so that you can support your family in the future’ is a common phrase in every household. I have faced it personally. I don’t think a girl is as much under pressure as a boy.”

Societal expectations and a lack of ability to express feelings openly are considered to be   major reasons for high suicides among men.

Sahil Chodhary, 23, a back-end developer in Bengaluru, said: “Societal expectations are… the very root of this problem. Men aren’t seen as man enough if they express their feelings. When we do express our feelings, we are seen as weak and emotional. Phrases like ‘Don’t cry like a girl’ are fed to a boy from a young age. It is very difficult to shake off the idea that men are supposed to be strong.”

Pravin Gupta, 55, a chartered accountant, said: “A man as compared to a woman has much (more) responsibility. A woman… just has to think about the family and take care of them. But this is not the same for men as they have to think about their finances, their status and reputation in society. With all this pressure, and if they fail to meet these expectations, then it makes us feel like a failure. So I think this is mainly why men are more prone to attempt such actions.”

Ashwini GA, a sub-inspector at the Ashok Nagar police station, informed The Observer that the Ashok Nagar division has seen 28 suicides till now. Out of them, 20 were by men. “A man has a lot of responsibilities. Especially during lockdowns, there were losses which can be a possible reason for suicides. We also get many cases where a love breakup is involved,” she added.

Suicide has become a rising concern throughout the country. An increasing trend in the rate of suicides has been seen. There was a 10.0 percent increase in 2020 compared to 2019 as per NCRB 2020 data. Karnataka (18.4), Maharashtra (16.1), Sikkim (42.5) and Chhattisgarh (26.4) had high suicide rates.

According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the rate of suicides now is the highest since 1967. The report said the Covid-19 pandemic is a major reason behind the increase.


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