‘A suicide attempt every 4 minutes’

The tattered printout of an email, a blood-soaked bedsheet and the laptop screen flashing an image from the Facebook account left open is all that 26-year-old Shivani Mhatre remembers about the night of April 2, 2011.

Mhatre`s family was busy catching the India vs Sri Lanka cricket match of the World Cup finale on television when Shivani, a marketing executive, made an unsuccessful attempt to end her life over a failed relationship.

`At that given time and moment, it meant the end of life. He (boyfriend) wanted time to build his career and was not ready for marriage. My parents wanted me to get married,` Mhatre confessed, her kohl-smeared eyes full of tears as she recalled the fateful night when she lay unconscious with a slashed wrist before her parents found her.

`I have moved on since that day – but a minute of impulsiveness made me spoil my career. I scarred the faith my parents had in me,` she said. Sharing a two-room apartment with her parents in south Delhi`s Amar Colony, Shivani changed her job to avoid stigma, legal proceedings and uncomfortable questions.

Mhatre is not alone. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2009 report leaves a chilling statistic of 15 suicides every hour in the country, with one in three victims aged between 15 and 29 years. The age group is resorting to suicides as the emotional quotient dips and impulsiveness rides high, say experts as Oct 10 is observed as World Mental Health Day.

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`If we take the population size between 15 and 29 years, we have four suicide attempts per minute in India. Everything has changed, from the lethality of methods used to the reasons – urban areas have terribly gone wrong in reading the young minds,` Sunil Mittal, senior consultant, psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Delhi Psychiatry Centre, said.

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