February 23, 2017 08:03 AM NPT
By: Bira Gadal
BAITADI, Feb 23: Alarming cases of suicide have been noticed in Baitadi district. According to police, on an average the district witnesses a case of suicide every 12 days. Among others, the report has highlighted domestic and economic issues as the most common factors.
The report claims that 19 people committed suicide in the district during the past six months. During the last fiscal year the toll was 29 and year before that the tall stood at 16.
“People from all age groups are committing suicide. Suicides are ever rising and this very disturbing,” said DSP Heramba Sharma, the district’s chief police officer. “There are many factors that seem to have motivated the deceased to take their lives and it’s not possible to pinpoint any one of them,” he added. Some of the common factors, according to Sharma, are stress, domestic disputes, love affair, financial crisis and misunderstandings.
Federation of Safe Motherhood Network (FSMN) recently stated that mothers in Baitadi and other hilly districts have been committing suicide due to poverty and family disputes.
Man Bahadur Chand, a central member of the FSMN, opined that lack of awareness among people about mental health issues and the need to seek medical help to treat them has been a major factor behind the suicides. “Since most people are not aware about mental illness or say for example, the consequences of depression, they don’t seek treatment and in their struggle against the illness, they kill themselves,” he opined adding that “If people are educated about mental illness, their general symptoms and means to treat them, they could seek help and handle their problems more easily,” Chand said. “In lack of such awareness, more people are living with depression and some are even becoming its victim.”
Dr Nagendra Thagunna, a psychologist and chair of the School of Psychology, Nepal, states that negative thinking gets severe when it is not attended on time. When people feel that they became unsuccessful in love, relationship, business or in some of their aspirations, they find life not worth living. “Isolation, lack of positive activity in life, failure in love, extreme poverty and several desperations make people psychologically weak. And when they do not get proper help on time, things go worse,” he explained. “People suffering from depression are not willing to take things positively. They tend to look at everything negatively. And when they are not understood by friends and families, they feel committing suicide is their only option,” he added.
He also stressed on the need of organizing sensitization campaigns to raise awareness among people against suicide. In lack of such programs, he claimed, people are dying. “Calmness of heart and mind is very important. For that, there are a lot of methods. But when people are not aware of these, they become much vulnerable,” he said. He added that medical intervention can save life even if a person is suffering from severe depression.
DSP Sharma believes that mental health should be a compulsory subject in school curriculums. This, he opined, along with moral science subjects can help young minds to be more calm and disciplined.
Backing his opinion to introduce issues related to mental health in school curriculum, Sharma said that many of those who committed suicides in the district are school children. “If school children are educated on issues related to mental health and well being, it will shield them from psychological harm,” he asserted.
He stated that more mental health related campaigns should be conducted in schools and at the community level institutions. “It is not that such programs are totally absent, but they have not been enough,” he maintained.
Problems at the domestic level and relationships, DSP Sharma said, make people vulnerable. In many cases, they become so demoralized that they are not in position to distinguish between wrong and right. In this struggle, they take their own lives, he said.
Debu Thagunna, president of Mahila Shakti Kendra puts the blame on domestic violence as the major factor that pushes women to take their lives. She said that many married women have committed suicide and argued that most of them were mistreated by family members.
She stated that the definition and concept of marriage has also been creating problems. She said that since women have been traditionally forced to rely on men for property or economic base, they are not independent and therefore cannot fight back when violence is perpetrated against them.