Rate too high

Reports indicate that suicide cases among adolescents are on the rise in Nepal. This group has therefore been put under the high-risk category for suicide. Though preventable, this major cause of premature death has escaped the attention of the government and society at large. As a result, virtually no step has been taken to dissuade the impressionable minds from taking their own lives. Despite the fact that mental diseases, particularly depression, account for about 80 per cent of deaths by suicide, they are not even considered a serious health problem. A study commissioned in Kaski district in 1998 revealed that suicide rate was 12.5 per 1,00,000 people of all ages, out of which 18.9 per cent were males and 4.8 per cent females.

According to the Crime Investigation Department, every year around 2,500 people commit suicide in Nepal. This can be checked through well-thought-out awareness campaigns aimed at addressing the suicide factors, including depression. Support programmes like counselling and educational and socio-economic strategies for the people’s welfare can certainly help curb the suicide rate. The commonly abused substances like insecticides and sleeping pills are easily available, and it would be well-advised to consider whether their abuse could be minimised. High-risk age groups, drug addicts and alcoholics merit constant attention. But equally important is parental guidance and the role of society in bringing children up in a healthy and stress-free environment.