My discussions with people of my generation indicate that they believe this to be very low or ignorable. Joiner believes (and shows by statistics) that self harm is one of the most common causes of death. I believe that in India, (as in other places), people downplay this as they do Sexual Abuse. And we probably do that because we do not know how to handle both.  As a matter of fact,both are increasing alarmingly.

Thomas Joiner, in this article, postulates a few reasons for suicide. Please do read the whole article. It is well written.

To summarise, “People will die by suicide when they have both the desire to die and the ability to die.” (quote by Joiner). The desire to die has two components: when I believe (a) I am alone and (b) I am a burden. This is shown by the following diagram:

The interpersonal theory of suicide

The three conditions of suicide, when looked at separately, are conditions that we suffer each day. We repeatedly have

  • feelings of loneliness,
  • feeling of inadequacy and being a burden and
  • suicidal feelings.

But only when the three come together that it becomes alarming.

It starts with loneliness and a need to belong. With the advent of facebook and social media, theoretically, it would imply that we have a lot of friends. “The greater the proportion of online interactions, the lonelier you are,” says John Cacioppo, a professor at the University of Chicago and the world’s foremost expert on loneliness. The more face time you have, the less the loneliness.

The second is the need to be useful and more importantly, the need to provide. With the growing unemployment, this is becoming important. For the younger generation, who have the need to provide for their parents, this can become deadly. Comparison with peers about  salaries and savings coupled with low self-esteem can add fuel.

The third is the capability and the means. I will not dwell on this as it is too painful.

If you feel you need help, or someone around you needs help, please reach out. Other things that you can do:

  1. Create face time. If you need to talk to a counsellor please do so. Smile at friends and strangers. Make them feel that they belong.
  2. Learn additional skills that will help you get a job in a different career. I started as a software guy and ended as a teacher, and now a coach.
  3. Do not compare with others.Parents may talk about needing your support, but typically it is not financial support (most parents can fend for themselves), but they need emotional support. as do all of us.



  1. June 5, 2013
    Biswaranjan Das

    Sir according to my experience about suicide is “Those people who are doing suicide are not accepting the truth of life. There are too many other causes like failure in love, quarrel between husband & wife, excessive physical or mental torture, borrowing money over own limit & many more”.

    • June 6, 2013

      Mr. Das, we all face these issues. That is your “truth of life.” But to face these issues, we need support and self confidence. When we feel overwhelmed, we act emotionally. “Failure in love” requires support of friends, which is linked to our need to belong. “Quarrels” also require a need to be understood, and a sense of perspective, which again requires some one else to provide, as the two persons in the quarrel are emotional. “Torture” is tolerated when we believe we have no choice (which leads to depression) – but we always have choices. What we do not have is self-esteem.

  2. September 29, 2013
    Subu Kavasseri

    Linked to the idea of suicide is the mother of all thoughts, which is, there is an entity – the me, that wants to commit suicide. Take away the idea of a ‘me’ and all there is is ground zero. Whether one commits suicide or not is of no significance to the one that can live without the shadow of the me.


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