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Decades ago, my city of Bangalore was called the Pensioners Paradise and also the Garden City. These days it is better known as the IT Hub, The Pub City and I am sad to say it is fast becoming Stress City.

Bangalore says a recent article in the Economic Times has the most number of suicides in India. Every month about 200 people commit suicide in Bangalore- largely due to stress, loneliness and financial insecurity. Most stress is induced by work related issues such as pressure to perform, competition at work, demanding work schedules and tight deadlines.

Last year over 2340 cases of suicide were reported in Bangalore- the highest in a country where there are estimated to be 100,000 suicides per year.

Why do people take this extreme step? Why do they end their lives in desperation? Perhaps the true answers will never be known and of course vary from person to person.

Here are a few trends which I believe are related to the increase in the number of suicides due to stress:

  1. Rapid economic growth has thrown the doors open to a much larger section of society- many of whom are ill equipped to handle the conflicting pressures, pleasures and demands of a large city, migrating as they have from smaller towns and villages.
  2. The same growth has provided employment opportunities to many who in periods of lower growth would perhaps not have had these opporunities. This has pitchforked many into jobs for which they are not adequately skilled or even trained.
  3. Material wealth and the flaunting of luxury items has to some extent made people even more crazy of acquiring today’s status symbols at any cost- even if it means borrowing beyond their capability to repay debts and as a result over committing their time and resources etc.
  4. All these have caused more stress than ever before- particularly in those who are inadequately prepared to deal with the ever increasing demands made on them.

I hope organisations will play their part in making more careful selections of employees. They should also manage them in a manner which brings out the best in them- not the worst in them which often seems to drive them beyond despair to suicide.

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This is Post No: 271 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.

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