Researchers study behavioural aspect of farmer suicides -Rajeev Khanna

-Down to Earth

One of the major causes behind suicidal intent is depression, experts find while studying cases in Punjab, Telangana and Maharashtra

Farmer suicides, which have till now been studied economically and agriculturally, are now being looked at from behavioural and psychological angles. A study is being conducted under the National Agricultural Science Fund of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in three states — Punjab, Telangana and Maharashtra.

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana is the anchor for Addressing Farmers’ Suicide issue through Capacity Building of Farming Families. “Till now the issue of farmer suicide was being looked at only from economic and agricultural angles. We have looked at it from behavioural, psychological and cultural perspectives in addition to the earlier two,” said Sarabjeet Singh of PAU.

The research is also being carried out by PJ Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad; Marathwada Agricultural University, Parbhani and Punjabi University in Patiala. The findings of the three year study are expected to be compiled in the next few weeks.

The findings of the three-year study are expected to be compiled in the next few weeks.

Since most discussions and parleys on suicides are overtaken by issues of crop failures, rising debts, new farming techniques, the psychological aspect is largely ignored, added Singh.

One of the major causes behind suicidal intent is depression, found the researchers. “It needs to be understood that at times a farmer under a debt of Rs 2 lakh shows a tendency to end his life, while another under a debt of Rs 10 lakh does not,” he added.

They roped in psychologists and counsellors in the study. “Peer support volunteers (PSV) conduct open-ended interviews with farmers and then send audio recordings to us for analysis. We do this using standardised tools,” said Harpreet Kaur of Punjabi University.

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Down to Earth, 3 October, 2019, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/researchers-study-behavioural-aspect-of-farmer-suicides-67075

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