Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Psychological Attributes and Socio-Demographic Profile of Hundred Completed Suicide Victims in the State of Goa, India

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

Psychological Attributes and Socio-Demographic Profile of Hundred Completed Suicide Victims in the State of Goa, India

Article excerpt

Byline: Ashish. Srivastava

Aims: To describe socio-demographic characteristics, psycho-social factors, psychiatric co-morbidity in hundred completed suicide victims. Materials and Methods: A detailed interview was carried out with family members of suicide victims using psychological autopsy questionnaire. Results: Males committed suicide significantly more often than females. The most common age group was 30-44 years, followed by 15-29 years. Most of them were married (68%) and majority (78%) had education less than 10 [sup]th standard. Psychiatric morbidity was found in 94%, depression being the most common diagnosis (54%), followed by alcohol use disorders (42%). 40% of the victims had contact with mental health services and 50% with general health services in the 3 months preceding suicide. Conclusions: The rate of suicide is high in middle age and a very significant proportion of these suffer from diagnosable psychiatric disorders. Many of the suicide completers visit health services in the preceding few months of the event. In prevention of suicides, health professionals, both mental and general, can play a major role.


Suicide is defined as the human act of self-inflicted and self-intentional cessation of life. The nature of suicidal phenomenon is complex and the study of suicide even tougher as the person who has committed suicide is no longer available for psychological examination. The family already been stigmatized by the unfortunate event is not very forthcoming and not easily approachable. The description, both subjective and objective, is most likely to be colored by factors like the presence of psychiatric morbidity, overall effect of it on the relative who furnishes the data, fear of information being leaked out, etc., Thus, a true representation may not be obtained. Suicide's legal and social consequences lead to underreporting. The suicidal acts are associated with diagnosable psychiatric disorders and can be triggered by acute stress, shame, cult behavior, or various other reasons. Litman et al. were pioneers in using the psychological autopsy as a process to study the correlates of completed suicide. [sup][1] It has been studied and published that diagnoses obtained from psychological autopsy are reliable, valid, and unaffected by bereavement. The acceptance rate was high (77.1%). [sup][2]

The global average of suicide rate is 14.2 per lakh per year and the current national rate of suicide is 11.4 per lakh per year. [sup][3] The highest suicide rate in the world has been reported among women in South India in the 15-19 years age group. [sup][4] The number of suicide cases in India has been consistently on the rise every year. During the decade 2001-2010, the number of suicides in the country has recorded an increase of 23.9% as against the population, which had a growth rate of only 18.3%. An increasing trend in the suicide rate is observed during the period from 2006 to 2010.

Goa ranks 11 [sup]th in the union of Indian states, with the recorded suicide rate of 18.5 per lakh per year. [sup][3] The number of cases of suicides is on the rise and is an issue of major concern for those who come to face the brunt of the problem, including psychiatrists.

Hence, the present study was undertaken to investigate suicide cases with the following aims and objectives:

*To describe socio-demographic characteristics of individuals with completed suicides *To obtain family members' description of psychological history of suicide completers *To assess if victims sought medical or psychiatric help prior to suicide.

Materials and Methods

The data were collected from the police department of the state at various levels, i.e., from police stations and the readers' branches (police sub-department which maintains some details of the data), from the year 2001 to 2006. To draw a sample of hundred cases of suicide, every fifth reported case of suicide in the years 2005-2007 was included in the study. …

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