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In coping with stress, men could be the weaker sex

In coping with stress, men could be the weaker sex

Parvathy Anoop

Women have traditionally been labelled the weaker sex. But the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for suicide rates each year contradicts this and shows a consistent increase in the rate of suicides among men, especially married men.

In India, as many as 61,453 married men ended their lives in 2010, compared to 31,754 women. After Chennai, Bangalore tops the list with 515 husbands taking the extreme step. Also, the rate of suicides among married men has almost doubled in the last 15 years. This makes us wonder whether more men are at the receiving end in marriages, or are there other issues that men face that need to be addressed.

According to Sneha Fernandes, counsellor at Transforming Lives, an organisation which provides family counselling, unlike women, men do not have options to vent their feelings of depression or frustration. Women are expressive. They talk to their friends or family and depend on them for support. Whereas men are used to bottling up their feelings. I meet so many married men who just want someone to talk to and cry, but don’t find the comfort in their partners.”

While the lack of emotional support could be a reason for the high numbers, she says work stress also adds to the problem.

Dr Murali Raj, head of the Department of Psychiatry in Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, says lack of bonding between couples is one of the reasons why men are depressed. I have seen many cases of IT and BPO professionals where lack of quality time between couples often drives the man to despair. Marriage is often not a deep commitment… And both the man and wife work so hard during the week they are too tired during weekends.”

He says he has also seen cases of men dejected because of dowry harassment and a minority of cases of men who have sexual problems.

Several groups to protect men’s rights have sprung up in the City and they opine that the Indian laws favour women leaving men in a very disadvantageous position in legal issues.

I get 8-10 calls a week from men who are subjected to domestic violence. Even the police don’t take them seriously when they complain about their wife or in-laws. Section 498 of the IPC or the dowry law favours women, irrespective of whether they are right or wrong,” says Virag Dhulia, member of Confidare, India’s first community centre for men’s rights.

He says there is an absolute lack of awareness about men’s problems and that there is a need for a strong social support system and an official communication channel for men to come out with their problems.

The NCRB data shows that apart from married men, 243 widowers and 16 widows, 62 divorced men and one divorced woman committed suicide in Bangalore in 2010 — the highest in the country, yet again proving that there could be a lot of men who need help to lead happier lives.

Sonia narang,

DCP, Bangalore South

The male population is more compared to women in

Bangalore. They are unable to cope up with the changing lifestyle and work culture. Suicide-prone women prefer setting themselves ablaze as kerosene is easily accessible at home. Sense of insecurity is a major cause for suicides.

Helpline

NIMHANS Centre for Well-Being, 1/B, 9th Main, 1st stage, 1st phase, BTM Layout.

Call 26685948 or 9480829670

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