The isolation, grief and economic hardship related to Covid-19 are creating a mental health crisis in the India that researchers warn could make the already-rising suicide rate worse. An increasing number of suicides is an alarming situation in Kashmir valley and a matter of concern these days. It is a social evil and threat to mankind and humanity itself as a whole. Suicide is a slur on Society and even Jammu & Kashmir has not been left untouched by the menace of suicides. It is not unusual to see the reports of suicides in daily newspapers. Doctors in Kashmir Valley don’t doubt that more than two decades of warfare and the present pandemic and its fear have left the locals depressed, fatigued, traumatized and broken. The rate of suicide has gone up 26-fold, from .5 per 100,000 before the insurgency to 13 per 100,000 now. According to studies 79 per cent of the urban and rural population in the Valley suffers from depression. Anxiety, stress and depression are some of the factors that contribute to suicide. Suicide is also more prevalent in teenagers and youngsters, especially females.’
If we compare Kashmir to western societies the rate is less, but among Muslim societies the suicides in Kashmir are very high. The reasons are lockdown, fear of corona virus, turmoil, modernization, unemployment, business failures etc,”.The psychological, social and financial impact of suicide on the family and society is immeasurable. Jammu & Kashmir is grappling with numerous issues from Insurgency to illiteracy to unemployment and other health related issues and hence, suicide is accorded low priority in the competition for meager resources.
Anxiety, stress and depression are some of the factors that contribute to suicide. Suicide is also more prevalent in teenagers and youngsters, especially females.’ If we compare Kashmir to western societies the rate is less, but among Muslim societies the suicides in Kashmir are very high. The reasons are lockdown, fear of corona virus, turmoil, modernization, unemployment, business failures etc,”
Reducing suicide requires a collective, concerted effort from all groups in the society. It high time for Jammu & Kashmir Government to initiate a Mental Health Program which involves reducing the availability of and access to pesticides, reducing alcohol availability and consumption, promoting responsible media reporting of suicide and related issues, promoting and supporting NGOs, involving religious leaders, improving the capacity of primary care workers and specialist mental health services and providing support to those bereaved by suicide, providing psychiatric evaluation and treatment to people who have attempted suicide, training teachers, police officers and practitioners of alternative system of medicine and faith healers. All these steps can help to mitigate the problem of suicides in Jammu & Kashmir. In the holy Quran, suicide is defined as a sin.“O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, God is to you ever Merciful. And whoever does that in aggression and injustice – then We will drive him into a fire. And that, for God, is easy” (4:29-30). We should always remember suicide is NOT an option! When you’re in the depths of despair, remember, to prolong your prayer and confide in Allah. He knows what you’re going through. He will never burden you with more than you can bear. Keep your heart firmly attached to him. He will find a way out.
(The author is B.Sc Nursing student at the Institute of Nursing south campus University of Kashmir and a regular columnist of Kashmir Horizon. Views are his own email@example.com)