RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh may figure among the top five states when it comes to suicide in India, but tribals are not caught in its grip. With a population of around 26.6 million, Chhattisgarh’s suicide rate of 27.7 per one lakh population is way higher than the national average of 10.6. Among the 27 districts of the state, Durg-Bhilainagar reported the highest suicides rate of 34.9 per 1,00,000 population.
When it comes to incidences of self-harm, a large number of cases involve security personnel posted in Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected conflict zone of Bastar. In India, approximately 1.3 lakh suicides are reported annually while 1.6 lakh cases go unreported. A majority of suicides or attempted suicides are reported in the age group of 14-29 years. “And Chhattisgarh is no different,” said Niharika Barik Singh, Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), adding that the government is to provide the best mental and physical healthcare to the people.
Farmers suicides and students ending their lives are common in Chhattisgarh.Dr Abhishek Pallava, psychiatrist and IPS officer who is working in tribal belt of predominantly tribal Bastar, assert that tribal communities in Chhattisgarh don’t have a stressful life unlike their so-called modern counterparts.
“There is a gender equality. They are not ambitious and rarely think about next generation. Neither they have the tension of jobs, debts, family issues or social vices such as dowry or casteism. There are no sahukar (money lenders) either,” Pallava said, explaining the simple lives of tribals.
Grim situation in India
As per WHO estimates of 2016, India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region. India’s suicide rate was pegged at 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people. Sri Lanka came second in the region with a suicide rate of 14.6 and Thailand (14.4) third.