Year: 2023 Source: The Lancet. Public Health. (2023). 8(5), E347-E355. SIEC No: 20231481
Background Women in India have twice the suicide death rate (SDR) compared with the global average for women. The aim of this study is to present a systematic understanding of sociodemographic risk factors, reasons for suicide deaths, and methods of suicide among women in India at the state level over time. Methods Administrative data on suicide deaths among women by education level, marital status, and occupation, and reason for and method of suicide were extracted from the National Crimes Record Bureau reports for years 2014 to 2020. We extrapolated SDR at the population level for Indian women by education, marital status, and occupation to understand the sociodemography of these suicide deaths for India and its states. We reported the reasons for and methods of suicide deaths among Indian women at the state level over this period. Findings SDR was higher among women with education of class 6 or more (10·2; 95% CI 10·1–10·4) than those with no education (3·8; 3·7–3·9) or education until class 5 (5·4; 5·2–5·5) in India in 2020, with similar patterns in most states. SDR declined between 2014 and 2020 for women with education until class 5. Women currently married accounted for 28 085 (63·1%) of 44 498 suicide deaths in India, 8336 (56·2%) of 14 840 in less developed states, and 19 661 (66·9%) of 29 407 in more developed states in 2020. For India, women currently married had a significantly higher SDR (8·1; 8·0–8·2) than those never married in 2014. However, women who never married had a significantly higher SDR (8·4; 8·2–8·5) in 2020 than those who were currently married. Many individual states in 2020 had similar SDR for women who never married and those who are currently married. Housewife as an occupation accounted for 50% or more of suicide deaths from 2014 to 2020 in India and its states. Family problems was the most common reason for suicide from 2014 to 2020, accounting for 16 140 (36·3%) of 44 498 suicide deaths in India, 5268 (35·5%) of 14 840 in less developed states, and 10 803 (36·7%) of 29 407 in more developed states in 2020. Hanging was the leading mean of suicide from 2014 to 2020. Insecticide or poison consumption was the second leading cause of suicide, accounting for 2228 (15·0%) of all 14 840 suicide deaths in less developed states and 5753 (19·6%) of 29 407 in more developed states, with a near 70·0% increase in the use of this method from 2014 to 2020. Interpretation The higher SDR among women who have received an education, similar SDR between women currently married and never married, and variations in the reasons for and means of suicide at the state level highlight the need to incorporate sociological insights into how the external social environment can matter for women to better understand the complexity of suicide and determine how to effectively intervene.