Nepal | March 30, 2020

Suicide: A public health concern


Ambika Pandey

We all are born to die one day. This is the law of nature that whoever comes to this planet earth will ultimately leave. There is nothing that can avert this natural process. But some people choose to defy the course of nature and take their own lives. Ending one’s own life is known as an act of suicide.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and 78 per cent of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds.

Suicide has emerged as a key public health concern in Nepal. But we lack reliable data related to suicide and attempted suicide. The figures available are based on police reports.

According to a report published last year, 5,124 people had committed suicide in the fiscal year 2016-17. In the last four years, the country has seen a 13 per cent rise in suicide rate.

Youths, adolescence, divorcees and single men or women, police and military personnel, professional groups, members of broken families, house wives, victims of sexual abuse, victims of dowry and drug abusers are high risk groups. Most of the suicide cases are attributed to person’s failure to cope with psychological distress, financial constraint or poverty, social failures, depression and domestic violence.

According to medical scientists suicide is related to human psychology. When a person fails to cope with distress he/she choose to end life. Social scientists claim social facts as being the reason that propel people to commit suicide. Whatever may be the reason, no society accepts the act of suicide as a normal phenomenon.

The families of suicide victims are usually uncomfortable sharing their painful experiences due to social stigma. It is very important to reach out to those who have lost someone to suicide because it acts as a healer. Suicide is traumatic to the families as well as community.

According to the WHO, the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established in high-income countries.

But many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness, says the WHO.

Every individual should understand that life is the most precious gift of nature.


A version of this article appears in print on April 30, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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