Valley witnesses spike in suicide, attempt to suicide cases in 2014

Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: In 2010, Akbar Ahmad (name changed) invested all his lower middle-class family’s fortune, about Rs 35 lakh, into buying Pashmina shawls. When Akbar realised that a non-local swindler masquerading as a merchant had robbed him of the entire stock, he slipped into depression and tried to take his own life five times over the next two years.
“I had raised the money through loan and by selling a small patch of land. I found no solution to the debts and desperately needed an escape. I popped up handful of sleeping pills but was saved by my family, especially my wife who stood like a rock in those difficult times,” he said.
After four years of psychiatric treatment, both medicines and counselling, Akbar feels he is finally out of depression.
“The demons return when I begin to think how I will restart business,” he said.
Like Akbar, the police said, 97 people attempted suicide from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015, most of them women. The police are yet to count the total number of the people who died by suicide during this period, although 11 troopers have taken their own lives.
In January 2015, so far three persons died by suicide and another survived suicide bid.
The last year’s figure is much higher than the 56 people who attempted suicide in 2013. According to the police, 24 of them died by suicide, while 31 others were saved by timely treatment. Of the 56, 28 had consumed poison, 11 hanged themselves and the rest resorted to self-immolation.
Valley’s prominent psychiatrist Dr Arshad Hussain said during a survey it has been found that various societal and political causes have made people vulnerable to suicide.
He said severe depression and inability to handle situations arising out of such a scenario was forcing patients to take their own lives.
Among those who had survived suicide attempts were drug addicts and those who had undergone traumatic life events or suffering from bipolar illness or obsessive compulsive disorder, Dr Arshad said.
“Then we also interviewed people who we categorised in para suicide. These include persons, mainly women, who took the extreme step due to divorce, domestic violence or gender issues. We found females facing such problems were unable to reconcile with such stressful situations,” he added.
According to Dr Arshad, the maximum number of people who attempted suicide falls in the category of Deliberate Self Harm.
“Under this category the patients have taken serious steps to end life. Surprisingly, the teenage girls, mostly born after 1990, formed the bulk of the patients in this group. Such girls could not handle small issues such as the pressures of studies or other such problems,” he said.

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