The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Loneliness, the killer

Calcutta, Aug. 8: Spending long hours at home with no one to share her thoughts with apparently drove a 53-year-old woman to suicide late last night.

Mitra Mukherjee, the wife of a retired professor of Presidency College, was found hanging from the ceiling of her Jodhpur Park home by her husband, a part-time lecturer at the Central Glass and Ceramics Research Institute, Jadavpur.

No suicide note was found, but preliminary investigations revealed that Mitra was suffering from acute mental depression caused by loneliness.

Mitra’s neighbours had told police that she often complained to them that she had to spend long hours at home, said Anuj Sharma, the deputy commissioner of police, headquarters. The couple’s only daughter is married and stays in another part of the city.

Police found that Mitra had the usual evening stroll before returning to her single-storey house and locking herself in.

Hitendra Nath Mukherjee, Mitra’s husband, returned home around 8 pm. “He found the main door locked from inside. He knocked repeatedly, but no one responded,” said Sharma.

“Mukherjee and some others from the same locality broke open the door. When they entered the bedroom, they saw her hanging from the ceiling. One end of a rope was tied round her neck and another to the ceiling fan.”

City-based psychiatrists say police personnel may have to dig deeper into the human mind to find out what is going wrong with those Calcuttans who are suffering from depression caused by loneliness.

“At heart, many of us may be lonely, but with so much work to do all day, there is hardly any time left to ponder about life or one’s own problems. The problems gets aggravated when there is nothing to occupy oneself with throughout the day, as probably happened in Mitra’s case,” said psychiatrist R. Ghosh Roy.

Doctors have cautioned people to keep themselves occupied and develop hobbies.

“The early signs of depression would be loss of appetite, insomnia and loss of interest in anything happening around the world,” Ghosh Roy said.

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