There has been dramatic surge in suicide cases in Kashmir Valley of late, coinciding with the lockdown period.
As per data available, poisoning cases have increased from 68 in April 2021 to 128 in May and first week of June in one hospital alone.
The Kashmiri language does not have a word for suicide. Not a long ago, it was compared with places like Kuwait where the suicide rate is amongst the lowest in the world. Lately, things seem to be changing for the worse as there has been a substantial increase in such tendencies.
In some cases, the hidden trauma of life comes to the fore and what unfolds is nothing but disturbing and heart-wrenching.
The death of a child is the worst nightmare for the parents, one made even worse when it is self-inflicted.
Every death by suicide leaves behind a trail of questions and a deep sense of helplessness. Amid Covid-19 pandemic, the helplessness is exacerbated. There is a need to identify the crisis building within ourselves and others, and to learn how to avert it.
The government has responsibility for every citizen and ensuring all people get their due must be its focus.
Also as society, everyone including parents, teachers, clinicians, officers and politicians should be asking why and what they can do to prevent it. Covid-19 has had a debilitating effect on livelihood. In such a situation, suicidal tendencies are growing among the people, especially those who have had a severe impact on their livelihoods or those who have lost dear ones. The economic condition of the people may get worse while inequality may increase as the vast majority of the people are tipped to get poorer, deeper in debt and unhappy. While no one can say with precision why suicide has become such a crisis among the people especially young, there are several factors elucidated by the various experts which the administration need to work out and address the issue with a reasonable haste.
Suicide is considered a preventable cause of death and does not always involve a history of mental illness.
It is important to realise that suicidal thoughts come and go, and that if one makes it through the most difficult moments, he or she has a chance at feeling better. Discussing the problem with someone who can help one keep safe is very important.