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India has the highest suicide rate in the world among young adults

2015-01-05

The New York Times published an editorial on December 30 2014 with some information that was news to me.  To sum it up in one quote, here it is:

“India has the highest number of suicides in the world. According to the World Health Organization, of 804,000 suicides recorded worldwide in 2012, 258,000 were in India. Indian youths between 15 and 29 years old kill themselves at a rate of 35.5 deaths per 100,000 — the highest in the world — and suicide has surpassed maternal mortality as the leading cause of death of young Indian women. ”

The government has announced an ambitious mental health program that looks to be impossible to fulfill.  The first obstacle is the budget, and the national health budget has been reduced by 20 percent, from  $5 billion to $4 billion.  There is only one psychiatrist for every 343,000 people.

It appears that the government will be unable to deliver on its promise of mental health care for all the people.  Young people in particular are under a great deal of stress.  For example, young women have to choose between traditional, arranged marriages and modern style dating or a career, of which many are available now.  Young men have to deal with the stress of competition for the best grades, then the best job, or any job at all for that matter.

The conditions at India’s mental hospitals are dismal, and electroshock therapy is widely used, probably for its sedating effects.  Patients are exposed to physical and sexual abuse at times, far more often than in Western hospitals.  There simply is not enough mental health care, which causes excessive anxiety, frustration, and depression.  The suicide rate is a clear signal that stress and lack of care are overwhelming, especially for the younger population.

This problem is one that requires a force majeure to solve.  Some event like the French Revolution, something really big.  Something so big that many parts of it are simply accepted without question.  For example, the metric system of kilograms and kilometers originates with the French Revolution.

We’ll think of something that really works at the same time we discover the solution to so many of our societal ills, because all the ills stem from a common cause and can be cured by the application of a common remedy.  For example, many of our problems stem from the fact that we allow free rein to people who wish to obtain a fortune at the expense of a majority of gullible or powerless people.  We could solve so many troubles if we used reason to provide for everyone, especially those who don’t understand reason, and prevent them from being exploited, even with their consent.

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