The emerging trend of suicides among youth in Kashmir where thousands of such cases go unreported due to social stigma, said Dr Muzzaffar Ahmad, Director of PCR Drug De-addiction.
He asserted that in 2013, he sent two counselors to the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar to get data of the people who are admitted in causality and “to our utter shock” 1296 cases related to poisoning were admitted there who had tried to end their lives, he said in a workshop on ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ organized by Maryam Wellness centre, a branch of HELP foundation, an NGO.
He said those people were discharged after gastric lavage (stomach wash) without being registered or legal action. The three things were noticeable, “one, most of them was in the age group of 19-23, second, girls’ outnumbered boys and third, there was no correct address given by them.”
“When I asked one doctor and policeman there, he replied why to aggravate their case further by registering.”
258 suicide cases were reported by National Crime Bureau Records (NCRB) in 2014 in J&K.
He questioned the present data about suicides in Kashmir valley and stressed on conducting a thorough research studies by different academic institutions. “What scenario will be of other hospitals, what about those who suicide at homes and never get recorded”
Dr Muzaffar termed “hopelessness” as one of the major reasons which makes a person “vulnerable” to suicide. He talked about the tendency how suicide victims actually don’t want to end their lives but “just end their pain by inflicting that on their dear ones. That is why they message or call their near ones before actual suicide”
Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Official Hilal Bhat focused on triangulation of the available NCRB data. “Suicide is a symptom and not a phenomenon which comes out of disorder.”
He mocked the section 309 RPC which imprisons the person who fails in suicide attempt and asked government to delete such sections.
“The best intervention point is a school where you can counsel a child.”
Advocate Altaf said, “We don’t recognize efforts of others which sometimes force other to commit suicide. Neither teacher recognizes of a student nor an employer of his employee.”
Dr Shabir, a psychiatrist stressed on updating of GMC Syllabus where there is least importance given to mental health. “Even those who pursue PG in Psychiatry were termed as ‘pagal doctor’.”
Ghulam Hasan Dar, former assistant director planning GMC called upon Islamic scholars to sermonize about this issue during Fridays. “Islam as a force acts many times to prevent suicides.”
He requested government to put some vision on marketing of poisons in rural areas where every farmer has a strong “poison for his farm” in his house and “many times gets misused”.
Nazir Ganaie, city editor, Rising Kashmir, stressed on “intervention part” and shared few incidents and anecdotes. Ganai asked why people try to commit suicide in public places.
He lamented on academic institutions for not conducting research on suicides. “There should be a collaborative research between NGOs, academicians, journalists which would find the genesis of suicides and then develop recommendations to prevent it”