Suicide and its prevention
Suicide is an act of intentionally causing one’s own death. It is a tragic event which leaves scars in the life of a family member and loved ones.
According to statistics 2016 collected by ministry of health, Bhutan has recorded 92 suicide cases last year with the number of 52 male and 40 female.
Programme officer with the National Suicide Prevention Program (NSPP) Yeshi Wangdi said that suicide is an issue of complex human behavior. “Psychological, social and cultural factors interact to lead an individual to a suicidal behavior.”
He said that suicide is preventable to a large extend through collaborated efforts. It requires a multi-sectorial approach involving government agencies, non-government organization (NGO) and private sectors.
Yeshi Wangdi said that the ministry has recorded 69 suicide cases as of August this year. Most of the suicide incidences are difficult to say that why a person had committed the crime, however, he added that, it is mostly addiction related and behavior issues with the history of alcohol and drugs misuse, mental status and relationship issues.
Relationship issues are the common reason for majority of the attempted suicide cases, he added. He said that, stakeholders are deeply motivated by hope of His Majesty for the Youth as the wealth of the future.
Psychological support for individual at the risks of suicide can help prevent suicide. “I feel the best approach to prevent an individual from taking his own life by changing the individual’s behavior and his attitude towards the value of his life,” Yeshi Wangdi said.
Religious body can come up religious discourse preaching on the value of human life and preservation as protective factor in suicide prevention. The prominent religious figures that are highly respected and obeyed in the communities can convince people to have a positive attitude towards life, he added.
National Suicide Prevention Program has been established under the Department of Public Health under Ministry of Health with the directives from the Cabinet.
Since the suicide prevention is multisectorial approach NSPP under Health Ministry is the national coordi-
nating body and serves as the secretariat to National Suicide Prevention Steering Committee established under the chairmanship of ministry of health Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk.
Programme officer said that the government is concerned about the increasing number of suicide cases in the country particularly among the youths and deeply committed to addressing suicide prevention as the top priority.
He mentioned that, the actual implementation of suicide prevention activities should occur to all local governments under clear and dynamic directives of Dzongkhag Suicide Prevention Rescue Team (DSPRT) which has been established in all Dzongkhags.
The program officer said that the local government’s leader which includes Thrompons and Gup should play a major responsibility to ensure appropriate implementation of suicide prevention work plans.
Furthermore he mentioned that, stakeholders like media in the country can do much more in educating and creating awareness on prevention of suicides because of their wider reach out.
It is crucial that measures are taken to promote responsible media reporting on suicide prevention. Stigma remains the major barrier, media can focus on de-stigmatizing mental illness, reducing stigma attached to suicidal behaviors, and enabling help seeker among those vulnerable to suicide, Yeshi Wangdi said.
The implementation progress of the three year action plan has six objectives and 52 actions. The rest include training to the councilors.
Meanwhile, the Gross National Happiness Commission has committed to fund the training for the year 2017 – 2018.
The program officer said that the implementation of the action plan will be 100 percent and the action plan will be continuing as ongoing activities.
He also added that the ministry had placed surveillance system in all the dzongkhags to gather reliable data for future planning policy and program.