Suicides in young people in rural southern India

Lancet. 2004 Apr 3;363(9415):1117-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(04)15896-0.


Different rates of suicide have been reported in India. In Vellore, southern India, we have noted that the rates of suicides are several fold higher than those reported anywhere in the world, especially in young women. The department of community health at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, has obtained data prospectively on births, deaths, and morbidity in a population of 108?000. We used the verbal autopsy method to assign cause of death. The mortality rates were analysed for 10 years, from 1992 to 2001, for the age-group 10-19 years. Suicides accounted for about a quarter of all deaths in young men and between 50% and 75% of all deaths in young women. The average suicide rate for young women was 148 per 100?000, and for young men 58 per 100?000. We believe that our findings are reliable. The system of surveillance is well established and the verbal autopsy method has been validated. These very high rates of suicide need urgent intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data