Self-harm is the leading cause of death among Indian adolescents and young adults aged between 15 and 24, followed by road accidents, according to London-based Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. The report said that at least 60,000 Indian adolescents within that age group died due to reasons related to self-harm in 2013. More than 37,000 people in the same age group died in road accidents in the country during the said period. Road accidents claimed the highest number of lives of young adults just after self-harm and tuberculosis, reported The Times of India.
The data reveals that self-harm has pipped tuberculosis in India when it came to claiming lives. In 2013, as many as 52,038 young adults between the age of 15 and 24 died of tuberculosis. The research, conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation will be published in the May issue of international medical journal Lancet.
"We are certainly not doing enough, for the death toll in youth has been rising for the past decade, even while many other countries like China and Sri Lanka have been able to achieve just the opposite. As an immediate priority, the government must launch a national programme, with the active participation of youth, to address these leading causes of death and illness," said Vikram Patel, professor for mental health in Centre for Global Mental Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The act of hurting oneself has seen a sharp spike among youngsters in the country. Research indicates that more and more young adults are inflicting harm on themselves through acts like self-cutting, ingesting toxic substances or objects, among others. Such acts may not be fatal in themselves, but more often than not they lead to death due to related health complications.
According to the researchers, young adults aged 10-24 years make up for over a quarter of the world's population, and 89% of them live in developing nations. Seeking more attention towards the problems of the young population, the report said, "Adolescents today also face new challenges, including rising levels of obesity and mental health disorders, high unemployment, and the risk of radicalisation."