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Telangana Journal of Psychiatry

Awareness and Attitude towards Law pertaining to Suicide in Suicide attempters' and their Families in Rural South-India

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Author Details: Keya Das, Ravi S. Kumar

Volume : 3

Issue : 1

Online ISSN : 2455-8559

Print ISSN :

Article First Page : 18

Article End Page : 22


Introduction: An attempt to commit suicide has been decriminalised in several countries. However, India remains on the brink of the act of suicide being decriminalised as the new Health Care Bill may soon be realised. As there is no clear evidence as to how helpful the law remains in changing the scenario, we undertook this study with the aim to assess the awareness and attitude of the suicide attempters and their family attitude towards Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code which states that a suicidal attempt is punishable by law with a maximum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 1 year.

Aims: To study the awareness of existence of laws pertaining to suicide attempts in

·         Suicide attempters

·         Family of suicide attempters

Attitude towards existence of law in

·         Suicide Attempters

·         Family of suicide attempters

Settings and Design: Cross sectional study done at a tertiary care hospital in rural South India.
Materials and Method: 60 patients admitted as inpatients for attempted suicide were included following informed consent. A family member of each of all the inpatients formed the family group. The patients and family were given a semi-structured questionnaire and interviewed individually. Ethical Clearance from the ethical body of the institute was taken.
Statistical analysis used: Descriptive analysis of the data was done.
Results: Majority of suicide attempters (55%) and their family members(56.7%) were found to lack awareness about suicide attempt being a punishable offence.
Conclusions: Majority of the suicide attempters and their families lacked awareness about suicide attempt being a punishable offence but also stated that they would prefer the said law to exist. Our study is among the pilot projects to explore the question of decriminalisation of suicide in India from the perception of attempters.

Suicide attempt, Suicide law, Awareness, Attitude, Section 309
Key Messages: Majority of suicide attempters and their family were unaware that an attempt to commit suicide was an offence that was punishable by law. Most felt the law should exist as a deterrent. Education has a role to play in the awareness.