Four teenage girls attempt to end themselves, another one hangs herself to death in Budgam village. Experts say four months of lockdown has triggered increased depression levels among teenagers, women.
Budgam: Ever since COVID-19 gripped Kashmir in March, suicidal tendencies among the people especially teenage girls and boys showed a sudden spurt and the trend continues unabated.
Figures gathered by Kashmir News Observer suggest that many teenage girls, boys and married women committed suicides in the past three months. Medicos say the pandemic has resulted in immense stress among the people especially young boys and girls besides marital feuds too have shown a spurt.
Kashmir’s Budgam district has witnessed sudden surge in the suicidal incidents. Figures available with KNO reveal that a 17 year old girl hanged herself to death in Budina village on Sunday (July 26). She was declared brought death on her arrival to the hospital.
Apart from her, four suicide attempts were reported from the district in the past ten days.
On 21 July, a young girl (name withheld), a resident of Narwara area of Budgam, allegedly consumed some poisonous substance at her home. Soon after the incident, she fell unconscious and family members of the girl immediately shifted her to nearby sub-district hospital Beerwah from where she was referred to SMHS Srinagar in critical condition. She, however, recovered.
Before that, three suicide attempts were witnessed from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district which had left one in critical condition. While talking to KNO, Syed Mujtaba, who is an expert on Mental Health Rights, said that in India, the suicide rate among young adults aged 15-29 is more than three times the average. “This makes us a country with one of the highest suicide rates among youth in the world,” he said.
“Some common reasons are loss of any family member, poverty at home or other domestic issue. Family illnesses which is draining the family financially etc also contribute to the growing attempts,” he said. While referring to recent increase in suicide cases in Kashmir, he said that apart from the reasons mentioned above, in Kashmir there are other reasons like continued violence, psychological distress and as per the recent report of MSF (2015), more than 50 per cent of youth are suffering from some symptoms of mental illness mostly depression due to multiple reasons.
The current pandemic has also added to the suicide rate because of emotional neglect. “Being socially discriminated and breakdown of support systems and other reasons push youth and women to commit suicides. As per the reports from various institutions, the larger population has been exposed to domestic violence,” the expert said.
Saima Bashir, a senior mental therapist working with a leading NGO in Kashmir, said that since March, Kashmir has reported growing incidents of domestic violence, which forces women to take the extreme step. “This is because male folk was confined to homes which resulted to more arguments, verbal duals, ultimately adding to the mental depression of women forcing them to develop suicidal tendencies,” she said. KNO