An in­crease in the sui­cide rate

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - ANUM TARIQ

In re­cent years, in­ci­dents of sui­cide ap­pear to have in­creased in Pak­istan and sui­cide has be­come a ma­jor prob­lem. From avail­able ev­i­dence it ap­pears that most sui­cides oc­cur in young peo­ple un­der the age of 30 years. Tra­di­tion­ally, sui­cide num­bers were low but in re­cent years, they have shown an in­crease and sui­cide has be­come a ma­jor pub­lic prob­lem in Pak­istan.

Hang­ing, gun shot, poi­son­ing and firearms are the most com­mon meth­ods of sui­cidial at­tack. Men­tal ill­ness, trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence, un­em­ploy­ment, bul­ly­ing, fail­ures in stud­ies and in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tion­ship prob­lems and do­mes­tic is­sues are the most com­mon rea­sons for sui­cide. In con­ser­va­tive South Asian Is­lamic coun­tries with tra­di­tion­ally low sui­cide rate, both sui­cide and at­tempted sui­cide are il­le­gal acts.

As far as sui­cide pre­ven­tion is con­cerned, this re­quires a mul­ti­sec­toral ap­proach. Al­most 34% of Pak­istani pop­u­la­tion suf­fers from com­mon men­tal dis­or­ders, and de­pres­sion is im­pli­cated in more than 90% of sui­cides. This needs to be ad­dressed at the com­mu­nity level. Ideally men­tal health and sui­cide pre­ven­tion pro­grammes should be in­te­grated within the pri­mary health care sys­tem. Ed­u­cate peo­ple about men­tal ill­ness, sub­stance abuse, and sui­cide to pre­vent. —Karachi

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