I was reading a short novel by I Camus, "The Fall", which immediately started me to question a visualisation portrayed in the book when Camus sees a crying young woman on the bridge, and he passes by her.

The young woman is alone and watches him pass by. He hesitates to turn his head back to her. Finally, after some time, he turns his head and tries to look back at the young woman but cannot see her on the bridge.

The gist of this short story is clear: life may seem absurd; however, never be afraid to talk to someone.

Recently, there have been many reported cases of people jumping and committing suicide from the Narayani Bridge in Chitwan, which is alarming.

Over August this year, there were reported cases of more than five such incidents where people jumped off the Narayani Bridge. The suicide rate in the country is slowly on the rise. According to some informal estimates, the suicide rate has escalated by 72 per cent in a decade, where about 19 people commit suicide almost every day.

WHO reports that more than 700,000 people die of suicide across the globe every year. In addition, the UN says one in four people worldwide is affected by mental health problems, and about 450 million people currently have a mental disorder.

I will not go deeper into the minds of those people having hard times in their lives and the causes behind them. However, you may already be aware that there could be many reasons behind these upticks: mental health, neurological disorder, substance abuse, emotional turmoil, loneliness, chronic diseases, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic woes, migration, urbanizations, and social and financial misbalance, and so on.

There are no easy solutions to suicide and mental health problems, and the suicide solution song by Ozzy Osbourne, which goes "Wine is fine, but whiskeys quicker. Suicide is slow with liquor. Take a bottle, drown your sorrow. Then it floods away tomorrows...", is not going to help either. We don't live in a perfect world. We live in a fragile and sometimes meaningless world where reality is questioned.

Some even question our very existence and argue that we may live in a simulation where there has been a debate about the nature of our reality. As a result, life is hard and killing yourself or feeling like things will never get better may not be the solution.

In conclusion, I argue that, as Camus claims in his novel, men are guilty of something. We are guilty not only of our actions but of our inactions or failure to act. Crimes we fail to stop are just as much our fault as those we commit ourselves. Hopefully, in our general election, we will elect someone who will make mental health issues their priority, not with words but with action.

A version of this article appears in the print on November 7, 2022 of The Himalayan Times.