Why suicide cases are rising in Chitral?

Asma Elahi

In the past few months, the suicide cases in the Chitral region have reached an alarming level and drastic measures are needed to overcome this situation. Most of the suicide cases in Chitral involve teenagers, specifically females.

Suicide is the act of killing oneself as a result of depression and mental illness, which is a wake-up call for the entire region. Surprisingly, Chitral has one of the highest suicide rates in Pakistan and one of the highest literacy rates as well. Depression is considered to be its major cause.

Depression is a mood disorder that involves constant sadness and feelings of loss of interest. It is different from the mood swings that people often experience in life.

People who suffer from depression face difficulties in performing daily routine tasks because it is a persistent problem, not a temporary one. It consists of onset of symptoms lasting at least two weeks. It can last for weeks, months, or sometimes even years. However, people in the region often mistake it for being possessed and refer to panic attacks as some paranormal activity which further worsens the situation.

As far as the causes of depression specifically in the region are concerned, the fierce competition among students in the field of education has also been blamed for it. When students’ grades are lower than the expectations of their parents, it results in giving birth to frustration among teenagers, and thus many of them commit suicide.

 The announcement of the intermediate examination results last year was followed by an increase in suicide rate in Chitral. Less than a week after the results were announced, there were reports of suicide by six female students by throwing themselves into the Chitral River.

One of the most important things that create suicidal thoughts among young generation is the environment, because the environment plays a vital role in changing mood and bringing relaxation to mind. If we look at the environment of Chitral, it is all surrounded by mountains, no parks, markets, well-constructed roads and Internet facilities are available, there are no activities suitable for them, and there is no good environment to change their minds. Most of them are focused on acquiring education. They hope to settle down through education, they hope that through education they will get a good job, and then they will have a bright future and that is the reason why even a thought of failure makes them desperate to commit suicide.

According to some experts, the limited job and less income opportunities also creates sense of deprivation among the young people, which is driving force for suicide among this class.

Majority of the suicide incidents includes young males and females. Reports show that a married woman committed suicide by throwing herself into the river. Similarly, a 40-year-old man, Saddruddin, a resident of Yarkhun, had gone missing and later his body was found floating in the river.

The thing that is needed in Chitral is awareness about the depression that is actually ending their hope for living a beautiful and successful life. In order to change the thinking and social structure of the region, a higher attention from government towards the construction of new schools, universities, playgrounds, market roads, and fast Internet facilities is needed.                                                                 

4 Replies to “Why suicide cases are rising in Chitral?”

  1. Whatever Saif Sb has written here sounds that he is engaged in kind of activities related to education, counselling services, and he is very right to mention all the matters influencing young people towards suicide. He is very right o say that we lack resilience and tolerance, as if we are made of iron and stone, especially when it comes to daughters. What Fathe sb has said above about Chitral being educated, civilized and peace lovers, if could be true but once it comes to daughters/girls the most intolerant and resistant to give any freedom or right. In the meantime daughters/girls are exposed to outer world through uncontrolled social media. Families keep only one option from their daughters/girls and daughter in laws to be perfect and no second chice to follow, so once it is not achieved, leads to frustration and stigmatizing the poor souls to go for the last option of suicide. The real cause of the death has never been revealed to anyone.
    Familiies have to given awareness, community has work on this, and schools have to paly their due role as not a separate activity but as an education to teach life skills.

  2. Suicidal ideations does not occur in silos. Literature says that people who commit suicides, actually plan it thoroughly for months and in doing so they leave messages and give hints pointing towards their intentions by either talking about it or writing short sentences. There are numerous causes which group together to motivate a person to attempt or commit suicide. It has more to do with resilience and coping mechanisms than education. Collectively as a society we are not taught emotional intelligence to begin with. It helps one understand their own emotions and develop a mechanism to manage those. Lack of tolerance results in abrupt reaction to unexpected or difficult situations. As people don’t understand how to cope with such situations, they lose control over their emotions and see only despair. There is no support system available to them in their family or friend’s circle; they lose the battle of nerves and go for extreme actions such as suicidal attempts.
    Individual circumstance may differ but in absence of reliable data; neither the govt nor other institutions have been able to find out the real causes so far. Affected families do not tell the truth because of fear of being stigmatised. Prevention is possible only if we start teaching our children the power of resilience and emotional intelligence. There is no better cure than these.

  3. To date, no study has explicitly explored that the suicide rate is high in Chitral. However it’s a social fact in the context of the chitrali society and it’s not easy to establish a single factor causing this as the relationships between societal level social forces and individual behavior is v challenging yet crucial to understand and for this the Sociology dept of UoC should focus on sociology of suicide as well as sociology of emotions

  4. This is what we need the most in recent times. We CHITRALIS are more educated, civilized & peace lovers than any other area of Pakistan. We must come with a better solution to tackle this curse of suicude. Thankyou for this beaytiful article.
    In my 23 years life, I had gone through many of such incidents which are unbearable & unforgettable.
    I also made a video on this overwhelmingly rising situation expalining the main reasons behind this curse.

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