This paper investigates the impact of socio-economic triggers on mental health outcomes, proxied by male and female suicide rates. For that purpose we estimate a fixed effects panel data model of 15 major Indian states over the years 1992-2009. Our results show that urbanization and crimes against women increase suicide rates, regardless of gender. Literacy and gross enrolment decrease suicide rates for women but have exactly the opposite effect for men while poverty has a general negative effect on both male and female suicide rates. Unemployment is observed to be not affecting the suicide rate. Adequate explanations for these impacts are provided and policy implications drawn. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.