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Behind Closed Doors: The Disturbing Reality of Housewives Suicides in India

World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on September 10 globally since 2003, aims to address suicide issues, reduce stigma, and promote proactive measures. The 2021 theme, ‘Creating Hope Through Action,’ underscores its mission.

In India, the day highlights the alarming trend of housewives’ suicides. India reported 45,026 female suicides in 2021, with over half involving housewives. They consistently account for more than 50% of all female suicides and around 15% of total suicides, often linked to family or marital problems.

Southern states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka have higher suicide rates, as a 2016 study by Peter Mayer confirmed, especially among housewives. Societal expectations post-marriage may contribute to regional disparities.

The National Family Health Survey (2019-21) reveals the challenges faced by married women, including limited mobility, financial dependence, and spousal control. Violence is more prevalent among lowerincome households, with many victims not seeking help.

In poorer households, one in four married women report controlling behaviors by husbands, such as restricting friendships and monitoring whereabouts. Violence affects 35% of married women in the poorest households, with fewer seeking help. Mobility constraints persist, but slightly more have control over finances.

World Suicide Prevention Day addresses global suicide concerns. In India, it spotlights housewives’ suicides, a persistent issue. Southern states have higher rates, linked to changing post-marriage expectations. Married women, especially in poorer households, face control and violence challenges.