More than two decades ago Jammu Kashmir had the lowest suicide rate in the subcontinent. However, twenty-five years of turmoil has changed the picture exponentially. On August 22 last year five suicides were reported from Kashmir. As per the statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau there was 44.3% increase in suicides in 2012. According to the police 97 people attempted suicide from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015, most of them women. In fact in the month of December three women from Anantnag district committed suicide on the same day. This is nearly 50 percent increase from the year 2013 when 56 people attempted suicide.
Independent studies suggest suicide is becoming the second common cause of unnatural death in the Valley. A study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry, GMC Srinagar reveals that on an average 3.5 persons report daily to SMHS causality with suicide, para- suicide and deliberate self-harm from the past 4 years. Most of the people who committee suicides are males of the age group 25 – 34. However, most of the attempts were made by females, 4 times para-suicides and 7 times more deliberate self-harm. Suicide attempts by women are mostly a cry for help; this is what a Valley based social scientist says. According to him among women it was mostly para-suicide as they attempt suicide but rarely complete it. But the statistics of the past few months prove the expert partly wrong. Two women take the extreme step on an average basis in the conflict torn Valley, reports suggest. The conflict definitely has had a toll on mental health in Kashmir but the reasons for recent suicides especially by women reflect disorganization of both the individual and society in Kashmir. The experts give several reasons ranging from failure in a love affair to unemployment for this unfortunate trend. Sometimes the reasons are too trivial to justify an emotional response. Remedial measures ranging from providing a support system to involvement of the clergy have been suggested. A student of 11th standard ended his life following severe scolding by his parents for getting 91% marks in the term examination. He had secured 93% in the previous term. But when the parents realized their mistake, it was too late. A medical student inflicted a superficial wound on her wrist to force her parents to accept her boyfriend. The frightened parents had to give in. Later, she told her friends how she ensured to keep the blood vessels beneath the skin intact. In November 2010, a girl from Ganderbal district ended her life when somebody told her that the pre-paid connections would not work. She consumed poisonous substance and breathed her last in the hospital. The experts attribute the rising suicidal tendency to psychosocial factors like traumatic stress, poverty, unemployment to completed suicide in males while domestic violence, multiple traumas, is associated with female sex. They further say that the declining religious values, lack of moral education, nuclearisation of families, and ever increasing expectation of performing, unemployment are interacting with chronic conflict stress therefore increasing mental health problems that have created a tendency of suicide among a section of masses. The problem of suicide in a Muslim majority state needs urgent and emergency attention.