PROBLEM: Grave record of over 1K suicide cases in J&K and no system to control the rising number

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SUICIDE- the third leading cause of death among young adults worldwide. According to WHO, every year over one million people commit suicide and 20 times more commit suicide. Recently there has been an increase in the rates of suicide and Jammu too is not too far behind in the race. Over 1100 people have committed suicide during the last three years in Jammu and Kashmir. The age group of 17-35 years constitutes the majority of this grave record.

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As per the available data, in the year 2012,  414 cases were registered in the state and 309 cases were recorded in the following year. The year 2014 alleges a record of 400 persons who committed suicide and the numbers are expected to increase as the final data is yet to be compiled in March. Domestic issues, failed relationships and peer pressure have been the most evident factors in suicide attempts in Jammu as per the data compiled by the non-governmental organizations and the Police Department. Job anxiety, vulnerable marital status, depression are some other factors which have been provoking the youngsters to take this grave step.

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About half of suicide deaths were due to poisoning. Hanging has been observed as the second most common means to end life. The outbreak of militancy in the state, unsuccessful career has been inflating the trauma and anxiety among the people which leads them to depression and further disorders among the youth. Also, the growing violence and the post-traumatic stress disorders are also other fast gripping factors which add to the pressure of modernism, which is driving people to take the extreme step.

Considering the growing rate of suicides in the city, the Health Department had initiated five mental health OPD clinics at various district hospitals in 2010. But the dearth of resources and trained staff has obstructed the government’s provision of psychiatric help to those in need. The Bangalore based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences had trained over a dozen doctors but that is not enough to deal with the growing number of cases.

There are hardly any organizations in the state, government or non-government to deal with the amplifying data. A non-profit organization in Jammu,  THE-SARA has been working towards suicide prevention by educating and supporting the people with mental pressure and troubles through counseling. The Director of the organization, Dr. Ramninder Jit Singh, told that we receive six calls on an average from distressed persons and parents. Our team of experts including the clinical psychologist try to handle the matter by advising them properly. “Some are in need of medical support and we refer them to a hospital,” he added.

Dr GS Pathania, Director Health told that a detailed project has been submitted to the Central Government to help establish modern facilities to provide help to these people. The lack of facilities and participation of government as well as non-government organizations is further aggravating the matter. The NGOs should come forth and get involved in the civic action program and the social activists should reach out to the youth to help deal with the acute troubles they face.