A growing concern
Since the past few months we have witnessed an increased tendency towards suicides among the people of all ages in Kashmir. Hardly a day passes when we do not report in our newspaper columns about deaths by suicides or attempts being made to end lives.
The number of cases of suicide and unsuccessful attempts at ending one’s own life are showing an alarming trend in Kashmir. During the last six months many cases of suicides were reported at various hospitals across Kashmir.
Given the population numbers the count seems to be very high. The increased cases of suicides in Kashmir have been suggesting multiple factors behind this trend. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, mental health/suicide is the top reason for mortality among older adolescent girls. It was India’s tenth-biggest cause of early death in 2015 rising two positions from 12th in 2005. Kashmir has been no exception to the rise.
Official figures reveal that around 300 suicide cases are reported on an average every year. Kashmir which was hitherto unknown to such tendencies is proving to be a hotspot for suicide cases and the trend is increasing with every passing day.
Though suicides have been considered a social taboo in the Muslim majority region, still the real picture on this front has not emerged as lot of cases are not reported due to the associated social stigma.
Unfortunately, the incidents of suicides are refusing to show any decline, which certainly is and should be a matter of grave concern for all. More so the collective community concern which we should have shown towards this dangerous trend is missing.
Even the attempts by various groups to initiate counseling and involve religious leaders have failed to break ice. People associated with mental health issues have been ruing the fact that very less number of counseling options are available for the people in Kashmir who are faced with various mental ailments including depression.
Various factors such as academic pressures, personal relationship break-ups, pressures at work, interpersonal violence and intimate partner violence besides unemployment are some key reasons for depression amongst adolescents and young adults. Drug abuse and use of other substances is also affecting the mental health of the people here.
But the trend could have been curbed if a proper mechanism to address the issue would have been in place. The social groups who were concerned about the increased cases of suicides in Kashmir tried their hand in involving various players like religious heads in curbing the menace, but the results have been dismal.
There has been no letup in attempts to commit suicide as young people have been mostly falling prey to this menace. The doctors at the premier institutions in Srinagar say that on an average three cases of suicide attempts are reported every day. This is alarming.
We have been growing as a complex society over the past few decades. Failed relationship and domestic violence have been showing an increased trend, so much so that these factors are proving a major cause for increased suicide attempts. Besides, a higher rate of unemployment is also playing its part.
We need to rise collectively to curb this menace and relying on government and other groups cannot provide us the solution. We need to fight to secure our future generations and make them aware that life is much more worthy than ending it in a suicide.