Kollam: The troubled lives of the people in the city have come to the fore with the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) the previous week, which placed Kollam city on top of the list in suicide rate. Express had reported on Thursday about the position of the city as the suicide capital of the country, with 39.3 suicide cases per one lakh persons during the previous year.
On the one hand, the city has been witnessing the rise of the upper and middle classes with greater purchasing power, while the lower middle class and weaker sections have been grappling with an economic and social crisis. The gulf between the affluent classes and the poor has been increasing. The NCRB data reveals that people are forced to commit suicide after being denied proper medical care, a secure job and mental health care.
Family problems contributed to a lion’s share of suicide cases in the city, with 151 people taking their life over disputes and issues within the family. Though alcoholism has negligible contribution to the figures, it can have at least an indirect influence on the family disputes which have led to suicide. About 95 persons suffering from prolonged illness or incurable diseases committed suicide in the city, reflecting the poor palliative care facilities.
The third major contributor is mental health, with 100 people maintaining poor mental health committing suicide in 2011. Drug addiction forced about 24 men, mostly youngsters, to commit suicide. If statistical figures are relied on, high educational qualifications and a government job can make a huge difference to this alarming situation.
Of the 436 people who committed suicide in the city, only 5.1 per cent have educational qualification above matriculation. While about 61.7 per cent have education up to middle school and 33.3 per cent education up to matriculation. Just one percent of those who committed suicide had a job in the government or public sector. While 42.6 per cent were self-employed, 10.8 per cent were employed in private sector, 8.3 per cent unemployed and 10.3 per cent were housewives.
Marriage break-up, love affairs, career issues, failure in exams, physical and sexual abuse are also cited as reasons for suicide in the case of a small section.
When it comes to comparison between males and females, men in the city were found more vulnerable. About 324 males as against 112 females committed suicide in 2011. The age group-wise classification shows that the majority of those killing themselves are in the earning age. About 30 per cent are in the age group of 30 to 44 years, 32.4 per cent between 45-59 years and 22.2 per cent between 5-29 years.