At least 18 people have committed suicide in Mumbai in the last two months, including singer Asha Bhosle’s daughter Varsha and film director Sunil Agnihotri’s wife Anjali.
And, the cause in most of these cases was depression.
With the fast-paced life in metros, psychiatrists caution people to look for tell-tale signs in people vulnerable to suicide and to help them get counselling.
“We need people to be aware and pick up the tell-take signs of depression. This will help save lives. Family and friends are the best counsellors,” said Dr Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist, LH Hiranandani Hospital.
The rising cost of living coupled with feeling of loneliness is difficult for most Mumbaikars to handle, said psychiatrists. Dr Shubhangi Parker, deputy dean (academics) KEM Hospital who had done her international PhD on urban mental health, said: “The rising cost of living leads to frustration, which in turn leads to aggression and hostility, especially among those below poverty line. These feelings can either lead to suicidal or homicidal tendencies. It is therefore a major mental health issue.”
To deal with the daily stressors, Dr Hozefa Bhinderwala, consultant psychiatrist at Saifee Hospital, advised that people should always have a confidante. “Every person needs to have couple of confidantes, who in turn should take extra effort to keep in touch with the depressed person. Even talking to a person on phone helps. If you see a rising negativity in a person or thoughts of his/her ending life, you should seek professional help.”
Doctors also feel that the government and BMC should take steps to fight rising cases of depression. “The civic health workers, who go door to door for anti-malaria and other such programs, can be trained and enrolled to counsel people,” said a doctor.