Sui­cide and its pre­ven­tion

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Pema Yang­zom

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.

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