Srinagar: The suicide rate among the youngsters is on rise in Kashmir valley, according to experts.

Those who have lost hope in their life, committing suicide by poisoning, hanging or setting oneself on fire, is the easiest way to find everlasting rest and to run away from the economic, political and social injustice they are caused to undergo.

According to Dr. Arshid Hussain, Associate Professor at Government Psychiatry Disease Hospital, Srinagar, the statistics for 14 years show that in Kashmir the incidence rate of suicides among young people aged 18-24 years is growing.

“The reason for suicides are often family problems, psychological disorders, failure in love, education, unemployment and other problems,” he said.

He said, two to three cases of suicide attempts are brought to his hospital every day. “Suicide attempts are more often made by young people aged 18-24 (30%), followed by people aged 30-39 (22%), over 50 (9%) and young people under the age of 18 (8.9%),” he added.

The following table shows the suicide rates among different age groups in Kashmir valley.

Age Group

Suicide Percentage

18 – 24

30%

30 – 39

22%

> 50

9%

< 18

8.9%

Dr. Waris of Government Psychiatric Disease Hospital, Srinagar, says that suicide and domestic violence cases result from pressure, poverty and deterioration of the general situation without any obvious intervention from the State government.

“There is complete ignorance regarding the people’s suffering. Suicides are an attempt to run away from harsh economic and social reality behind,” he continues.

“Suicide is the result of cumulative thoughts of nostalgia that the person, who attempts to end his or her life, experiences after completely losing hope,” says Dr. Arshid.

“Unemployment, poverty and depression has significantly contributed to pushing Kashmiris to resort to suicide in an attempt to end their problems,” he adds.

Dr. Yaqoob, a PG doctor at the Psychiatric Hospital says, “Nowadays, those persons who do not secure the job, they cannot get married. This has become an evil materialistic habit in our society, which leads to depression among men as well as women and then most of the times compels them to take the extreme step.”

Dr. Reehana, Registrar at Psychiatric Disease Hospital says, “There have been more cases of hysteria in females than ever before. Most of those who attempt to kill themselves are in their teens and early twenties,” she added.

Dr. Reehana feels that the increase could be due to several factors. She says that the ways of dealing with stress and distress that used to be available to teenagers and young adults have been blocked due to the day to day lock-outs and curfews.

“Patients used to tell us when they used to go to the schools, colleges and be around their friends, it would help them cope with depression. But because of the curfews and strikes, there is no physical activity. There’s a direct link between depression and lack of physical activity,” says the doctor.

The patients, she continues, may become angry, abusive and frustrated at the prevailing situation and turn their aggression on others, and in cases of suicide, on themselves.

The National Crime Bureau Records of India has pegged the Kashmir suicide rate higher than the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Doctors say the rise in violence has direct impact on the mental health of people.

“Many people view suicide as a mental health problem, but many people who die of suicide do not always have mental health problems. It is actually a public health problem,” claims Dr. Arshid.

Khalid Imran, a scholar of Sociology says, “The increase in suicide rate was 46% higher among females than males because the females actually commit suicide more frequently than males but males die of suicide more often. Males are choosing more lethal methods of ending their lives than women.”

Dr. Arshid says, “More research is needed to determine which factors are putting Kashmiris at great risk, which of those factors can be targeted and which ways or strategies need to be developed.”

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