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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-33

Characteristics of suicidal attempts among farmers in rural South India

1 Department of Psychiatry, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, Bellur, Karnataka, India
2 92 Base Hospital, c/o 56 APO, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Uzma Hashim
Department of Psychiatry, 92 Base Hospital, c/o 56 APO
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_6_17

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Background: Globally, farming as an industry is considered a high-risk occupation for suicides. Certain states in India like Karnataka have a suicide rate higher than the national average, and this is generally attributed to the farmers' suicide. Aims: The aim is to study the characteristics of suicidal attempts among the farmer community in South India, with special emphasis on gender differences, modes used, and the immediate precipitant causes. Materials and Methods: Retrospective, case register-based, explorative-descriptive study of 426 consecutive medicolegal case files of patients whose stated occupation was farming and who were admitted as cases of deliberate self-harm or suicide attempt to a rural tertiary care hospital in rural South India. Results: Out of the 426 farmers who attempted suicide, majority were male (355, 83.3%), in the age group of 21–40 years (318, 75%), married (358, 84%), and belonging to lower socioeconomic status (268, 62.9%). About 54% of them had attempted suicide by consuming pesticides (230). Surprisingly, 183 (43%) and 86 (20.2%) reported the immediate precipitant as being relationship issues and marital conflict, respectively, and only 100 (23.5%) attributed it to financial reasons. Females were significantly associated with a past history of suicidal attempt while males tended to abuse alcohol before an attempt more frequently. Conclusions: Pesticide poisoning was the most common mode for attempting suicide among the farmers. Contrary to public perception and other studies, relationship, and marital issues, not financial reasons were found to be the most common immediate precipitant for the attempters in our study.

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