15 Nepalis take own life every day

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
15 Nepalis take own life every day

Sep 6, 2014-

At least 15 people kill themselves every day in Nepal, according to the World Health Organization. A first ever comprehensive global report on suicide launched on Friday shows Nepal has the second highest per capita suicide (number of suicides in ratio to the total population) in South Asia after Sri Lanka.

According to the report titled ‘Preventing Suicide: a Global Imperative’, 5,572 people—2,468 female and 3,104 male—chose to die in Nepal in 2012.

The UN body has estimated over 800,000 suicides every year globally, most of which are preventable deaths. Suicide rates vary depending on cultural, social, religious and economic environments. The government can take measures to reduce suicide incidents but only 28 countries have claimed to have a national suicide prevention strategy, the report said.

Suicide is highly prevalent among the young aged 15-29, while the rates increase in people older than 50. People above 70 years of age were more likely to have suicidal deaths than other age groups. Even in this group, male population remains more vulnerable with 110 people likely to commit suicide out of 100,000 people of this age group. The WHO has outlined, among other factors, genetic and biological causes, disaster, war and conflict, stresses of acculturation and dislocation, discrimination and trauma or abuse to mental disorders, harmful use of alcohol, job or financial loss, hopelessness and family history of suicide.

The WHO states that in richer countries, three times as many men choose death than women do, but in low- and middle-income countries the ratio is much lower at 1.5 men for each woman.

Professor Shishir Subba of the Central Department of Psychology, Tribhuvan University, said civil-war and political instability were major reasons for suicides in Nepal. Besides, the ever increasing labour migration trend has left families disintegrated.

“The social cost of migration has begun to manifest itself,” he said. A majority of an estimated 500,000 youths that join the work force every year leave the country, leaving behind the old and women to look after themselves and their children.

Subba urged the government to conduct a thorough mapping of mental health status and suicide before coming up with a concrete policy to address the issue.

Published: 07-09-2014 09:06

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