Delhi Metro-notorious for suicide

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Delhi Metro-notorious for suicide

Delhi Metro, once the pride of Delhi. Although it still is an effective mass rapid transport system, the sheen is wearing off as people realize the bureaucratic apathy, bungling and lack of accountability.

From a mental health point, another unfortunate tag for Delhi Metro is the notoriety that it has gained for committing suicide. Whether it is jumping in front of a train, or jumping off the elevated platforms; intentional death happens almost every fortnight. According to a news report in 2012, about 25 people had died due to suicide at Metro stations.

The recent suicide of an elderly man (70 yrs) by jumping in front of a train at Janakpuri West Metro station on 25th April is one of the many deaths that are a cause of concern. While no suicide note was found, depression in an elderly man is often associated with feeling worthless, hopeless and is worsened by physical ill health and family discord. It is unclear whether the victim had sought psychiatric treatment, but most persons above the age of 60 do not accept Depression as an illness which can be treated and refuse to go to see a Psychiatrist.

I have had numerous requests by concerned sons and daughters of elderly parents asking me for home visits to consult and offer advice. Surreptitious antidepressant dosing is often used by the family as the patient refuses to take any medicine for changing mood. This is despite the fact that they are invariably on anxiolytics (Alprazolam) and low dose tricyclic antidepressants (Tryptomer) and the GP has not told them about why they have been prescribed. Satisfactorily, when my medicine works, the family has the enjoyable company of the elder member back.

On 30th April, a 31 yr old man is reported to have climbed the wall of the platform at Jhandewalan Metro station and jumped down to his unfortunate death. While this mode of death is less often used, it has been happening at elevated platforms of Delhi Metro. In the past, there were similar incidents at Preet Vihar Metro station and at Punjabi Bagh Metro station. This is probably part of the increasing trend of committing suicides by jumping off high rise structures especially buildings, in urban areas.

Last year (May 2012) when one such incident had happened family members of the deceased had tearfully asked DMRC to act responsibly and prevent such incidents from recurring. A request that wasn’t acted upon as Aug-Sept 2012 saw more suicides by jumping off the elevated platform. The lack of learning from serious incidents and not making any attempt at prevention of suicides at Delhi Metro stations runs the risk of more unfortunate deaths happening. Is someone listening?!

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