Alarming suicide rate – 09 May 2022

The youth — especially those between the ages of 15 and 25 — are the most vulnerable

Within the last month, 10 Haripur residents have committed suicide, which has raised concern over the growing rate of depression in the region. Unfortunately though, incidences of mental illness are rapidly increasing across the country. A lack of awareness about mental health conditions and the absence of adequate support have left people feeling suffocated and compelled to turn to extreme measures such as suicide.

The youth — especially those between the ages of 15 and 25 — are the most vulnerable as they are constantly experiencing change, which they are unable to navigate amid emotional whims. This, coupled with the absence of education and recreational activities, leads the youth to engage in harmful activities, further worsening their mental health. Suicide and suicide attempts can have a far-reaching emotional, physical and economic impact. In Pakistan, survivors of suicide attempts are prosecuted and subjected to further trauma without any professional assistance, which increases their likelihood of experiencing mental illnesses in future. High rates of suicide within a community can negatively affect the mental health and well-being of other members as well. Also, it can reduce economic activity as the demographics of the active labour force are disturbed and employees may suffer from low morale at workplaces where the employee suicide rate is high.

The rising cases of suicide in Haripur are sounding alarm bells on the need for improved mental health services across the country. The Ministry of National Health Services must collaborate with provincial health services to launch effective mechanisms in the healthcare sector. Proper rehabilitation and counselling services in public hospitals can help a great deal. Also, a widespread campaign should be launched to destigmatise mental health issues, educate people on Islamic teachings against suicide, and encourage people to seek professional support. Without comprehensive measures to include mental health services and rehabilitation in the general healthcare system, it will be impossible to tackle the problem.

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