India unveils first ever National Suicide Prevention Strategy framework

30 November 2022
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by Madan Thapa
Madan Thapa

Madan Thapa

Madan S Thapa is a healthcare consultant and also a seasoned pharma editor, with over 10+ years...

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On Monday, November 21st, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed the first-ever National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS), a policy aimed at preventing suicides.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), India registered 1.64 lakh suicides in 2021, the highest in a calendar year. The goal of NSPS is to achieve a 10% reduction in death by suicide in the country by 2030 (versus 1.53 lakh suicides in 2020). 

NSPS aims to reach its goal by

  • Making it difficult to obtain items that typically aid suicide, like pesticides. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 20% of suicides globally are executed by poisoning oneself with pesticides, followed by hanging and using firearms.
  • Strengthening the health infrastructure and tools for suicide prevention
  • Improving awareness 
  • Implementing additional surveillance tools 
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Proposed implementation structure. Picture credit – MOHFW

The road ahead

The NSPS suggests short and long-term measures including setting up more psychiatric outpatient departments to improve access to mental health in districts over the next 5 years, integrating a well-being program into school curriculums over the next 8 years, increasing the number of postgraduate admissions for mental health, etc. 

To make these measures a reality, NSPS will partner with stakeholders at the national, State, and district-level, and prominent mental health organizations like NIMHANS.

As per data from WHO, over 700,000 people die by suicide every year and 77% of suicides take place in low- and middle-income countries.