Death by suicide cost Tamil Nadu Rs 29,167 crore in 2021, IIT Madras study finds 

Expressing concern over the recent suicides on campus, IIT Madras Director V Kamakoti blamed reduced socialising during the COVID-19 pandemic as the main cause
This is what the study says | (Pic: EdexLive)
This is what the study says | (Pic: EdexLive)

With Tamil Nadu recording a total of 18,925 suicide cases in 2021, the state has incurred an overall cost of Rs 29,167.90 crore, a study conducted by IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras has found.

According to the study, Socio-economic cost of suicides in Tamil Nadu by the Rehabilitation Bioengineering Lab at IIT Madras, the cost incurred from the suicides in 2021 accounts for 1.3% of the Gross State Domestic Product.

Further, the report estimated the annual direct cost of the suicides for the Tamil Nadu government to be Rs 18,314.57 crore while expenses towards immediate response cost associated with suicide viz emergency, hospitalisation and other sectors were pegged at Rs 4,048.31 crore.

The study, which was released on Wednesday, March 15, by Health Minister Ma Subramanian, holds significance for the state as Tamil Nadu had the second-highest rate of suicides in the country in 2021, according to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) data. It may be noted that IIT-Madras alone reported two suicide cases over the past one month.

The research report authored by Nijina M Nazar and Venkatesh Balasubramanian investigated the costs using data from the calendar year of 2021.

"The primary focus of the report was to quantify the costs of suicides and non-fatal suicide attempts to Tamil Nadu by examining the potential application of cost calculations to policy formulation. Policy formulation and initiatives geared towards the prevention of suicides might not only reduce the health toll but also strengthen the economic welfare of India," said Nazar.

The researchers took into account components like production loss due to premature loss of life, health services costs, bereavement and the psychological impact on the survivors, victim support cost and administration costs to deal with the suicides to arrive at the economic impact of the suicides on the state.

The health minister said the report will help the government to deal with the situation better.

“There is lack of data quantifying the impacts of suicides on various sectors, despite the fact that policymakers often consider them as social cost. The study provides fresh insights on this data gap," said the minister.

Meanwhile, expressing concern over the recent suicides on campus, IIT Madras Director V Kamakoti blamed reduced socialising during the COVID-19 pandemic as the main cause. "It is painful. Since September, three suicides have been reported inside IIT Madras. There are four main causes we have deduced: health issues, academic pressure, financial issues and personal issues," he added.

The administration has taken measures to curb suicides on campus, he also said.

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