Nepal | July 24, 2019

‘Recognise warning signs and respond to prevent suicides’

Sabitri Dhakal

Kathmandu, March 15

Cases of suicide have gone up in the country over the last three years with a majority of them linked to depression and other mental health problems, according to Nepal Police.

A total of 5,124 people committed suicide in the fiscal 2016-17, whereas 4,332 killed themselves in the fiscal 2014/15. The number was 4,673 in the fiscal 2015/16. Most of them committed suicide by hanging themselves, while others died by consuming poison, jumping from heights and drowning.

“People do not commit suicide immediately, they give warning signs. However, family members fail to understand the problems of mental health patients. If the problem is identified and treated on time, lives can be saved,” said Dr Sanjeev C Gautam at the Department of Psychiatry, Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital.

Substance abuse, growing frustration due to political instability, unemployment, failure in exams, financial problems, extramarital affairs and complex modern lifestyle are also pushing youths to commit suicide.

From among the patients visiting hospitals 30 to 40 per cent are found to be suffering from mental health problems. Early affair, break up, interpersonal conflicts, increased use of alcohol and drugs are some of the causes for youths to commit suicide. From among the patients visiting the hospital OPD, 40 per cent are found to be suffering from depression, as per Dr Gautam.

Suicide by hanging and pesticide poisoning is common in the country. “If we do not ignore the warning signs, respond to the person and encourage him/her to seek clinical help then we can save lives. The problem is we ignore the warning signs. If any person likes to stay alone and uses drugs or consumes alcohol, chances are high that the person is suffering from mental health problems,” said the doctor.

Community mental health awareness campaigns, first screening and referral to the specialist will help reduce suicide rates. “If students are found having any problem, it’s better to counsel than punish them. If someone shows behavioural deviation, this should be taken as a warning sign. Good family support helps such people emerge out of their mental problems,” said the doctor.

A version of this article appears in print on March 16, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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