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New Global Report Says India’s Youth Are In Jeopardy







Self-harm is the top reason for adolescent or youth deaths in India causing close to 60,000 deaths annually in the age group of 15-24 years, a latest global study shows. It is also the biggest reason for disability among youths.

Self-harm includes suicide, attempted suicide or any form of self-inflicted wounds. Self-harm is followed by road injuries leading to over 37,000 mortality in the same age group during 2013.

The findings are part of new research conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) based on 2013 data. The study will be published in the upcoming issue of the international medical journal, Lancet.

The data shows self-harm has increased rapidly over the last two decades, indicating a rise in stress, mental disorders and changing lifestyle and behavioural patterns. In 1990, self-harm caused a total of 37,630 deaths among youngsters between 15-24 years age.

Data from 2013 shows self harm has replaced tuberculosis as the leading cause for adolescent deaths. In 1990, a total of 52,038 youngsters between 15-24 years of age died due to tuberculosis, of this 18,221 were in the age group of 15-19 years and rest were aged between 20-24 years.

"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," says Vikram Patel, professor for mental health in Centre for Global Mental Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

A comparative analysis shows deaths due to self-harm are relatively less in other developing countries like China and Brazil. In China, 11,074 deaths were caused due to self- harm among adolescents (15-24 years) during 2013, whereas Brazil reported only 2,697 deaths in the same period and among the same age group.

In India, apart from self-harm and road accidents, diseases like tuberculosis, intestinal infections, heart disorders, and lower respiratory infections are also found contributing significantly to adolescent deaths.

Researchers say evidence shows behaviours that start in adolescence can determine health and well being for a lifetime.

"Adolescents today also face new challenges, including rising levels of obesity and mental health disorders, high unemployment, and the risk of radicalisation," the report said.

Seeking more investments in adolescent health and well being, the study pointed out adolescents aged 10-24 years represent over a quarter of the world's population, 89% of whom live in developing countries.

Courtesy: Times of India. Edited for

August 30, 2017


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