By Muhammad Amin
Suicidal incidents have assumed a global phenomenon and a matter of great concern for policymakers around the world. In a modern era where the world has turned into a global village due to technological advances, more lives end up due to depressions and obsession.
Like many developing countries Pakistan is no exception.
According to a report of the World Heath Organization (WHO), the rate of suicide in Pakistan is 2.9 per 100,000 or 5,500 people ended their lives in one year. This ugly picture has multi-faceted dimensions.
Surprisingly, Chitral has one of the highest numbers of suicide rate in Pakistan. To address the rapidly growing incidents of suicide in Chitral, the KP government has established a special committee to identify the causes and make strategies to minimize this alarming situation. Drowning in waters, poisoning, hanging and shooting are mainly used as tools to commit suicide in Chitral.
Causes of suicide in Chitral are numerous but some of the major causes are:
Relationship has many dimensions and is the main contributor to suicide or attempt to suicide incidents in the district. Divorce, rift in the matrimonial life or breaking of engagement are some of the basic elements of relationship issues. The situation sometimes becomes so distressing that even on a minor issue suicidal attempts are made, which sometimes end in loss of lives. Loss of loved one also becomes causes of suicide.
Academic pressure is another significant contributor to the suicidal incidents in Chitral. Recently, many students, both males and females, ended their lives as a result of low marks in their exams and many have been saved but with dire physical implications.
Another thing which requires attention is financial pressure. This includes unemployment, complex inferiority and mediocre status in society. Many have also committed suicide due to sexual abuses or harassment in educational institutions, workplace or in villages, as they had no courage to bear the taboo or share it with their parents etc.
Societal pressure also results in suicide or attempts to suicide. Sometimes an individual becomes victim of social isolation and shame. They try to leave the society and become completely detached from social activities. A person is a social animal and without society they can’t spend a normal life and thus depression surrounds their life, which finally leads to suicidal situations.
Lack of support on part of family or relatives is another cause of suicidal incidents in Chitral, when a person remains in distressing situation and all channels of support remain closed for him or her, such person finds solace in suicide attempts. In addition, domestic violence also remains cause of ending up many costly lives. These all elements are embodied in mental illness or depression contexts and finally lead a person to committing suicide.
Suicide is an immoral act, a sign of weakness or a way to escape from pain or challenges. It is the benchmark where a man`s courage and tolerance is measured. Problems in seeking professionals (trained psychiatrics), non availability of mental health centres in the district and lack of accessibility to the facilities are some of the main challenges need quick attention. It is a matter of great concern that in the entire of the district there is no mental health care centre with qualified staff to provide treatment to the patients.
Consequently,most of the mentally retarded patients are to go to down cities for treatment, which is financially rigorous and time consuming. Only online clinics and psychologists are available in some AKHSP medical centre to provide some basic services to the patients.
To address this alarming situation a wake-up call is essential to minimize the very fast growing rate of suicide in Chitral which include mainly profiling the causes, career counseling, educating and disseminating Islamic admonitions on suicide prohibition, establishing a well equipped mental healthcare centre at the DHQ hospital with trained professionals and providing market oriented skills to the youths to engage them in income generation activities.
There is also an urgent need to address the many ills in this society. We need to address the upstream factors such as social factor as well as downstream factor such as more and better health facilities including suicide prevention activities. This is a human right issue.