Multilevel and cohesive approach to suicide prevention -The Asian Age

World Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated every year on the 10th of September to make people responsive towards striving and combating one of the top twenty leading causes of death accountable for over 800,000 deaths across the world annually. 

Ever since each and every loss of life represents someone's partner, child, parent, friend or colleague, this year the theme of the day stand for 'Working Together to Prevent Suicide' in an attempt to overcome the challenge by adopting a multilevel and cohesive approach to suicide prevention.

According to the World Health Organization, one in every thirty-three seconds commits suicide around the world. Everyday sixty thousand people attempt suicide, and about three thousand people turn out to be successful.

Above and beyond, about forty million teenage juveniles attempt suicide every year and of them one lakh come to be casualties. Suicide, alone, meant for more casualties than the victims of war, terrorism or terrorist attacks, and murders around the world.

The statistics of the police headquarters unearthed that during the last seven and a half years, from 2010 to June this year, at least 80185 people committed suicide in Bangladesh. Which equates to 11 thousand suicide annually and more than twenty-eight people on an average daily. 

More women than men commit suicide while in the first six months of this year, at least 1789 women were killed out 2978 suicide cases reportedly. Non-governmental organizations operating in Bangladesh for the prevention of suicide reports that people who committed suicide attempted up to 10 times as many again before the casualties.

A research report of the Department of Forensic Medicine of Dhaka Medical College based on 970 post-mortem report reveals that physical abuse against women has increased at an alarming rate while events such as eve teasing have amplified distressingly. 

Many of the victims fail to cope with the situation and thus choose the path of suicide. It is also reported that in the case of unmarried women who were forced to commit sexual relations before marriage commit suicide due to pregnancy.

Another study of the Children's Rights Forum shows that at least 7 teenagers committed suicide while at least 47 students attempted suicide in different places across the country in the four days from 7th to 10th May of this year after the publication of SSC and equivalent examinations results as of not desirable results. 

In very similar terms, following the publication of HSC and equivalent examinations results, there have been reports of six suicide cases five of whom are female students.

Educationists and psychologists observed that students and guardians have become more concerned with studies and results than before ever. Academic results have now turned into an unstable social competition where parents consider children's academic results as a tool to protect social dignity which is the root cause of such casualties. 

A recent survey by the Society for Voluntary Activism to prevent suicide has identified 24 causes of suicide. Among them, family and marriage disputes, childbearing problems, physical and mental torture, complicated diseases, inducement, humiliation and negligence, torture for dowry, extreme poverty, depressing remarks, failure in love, loanee, business loss, wrongful divorce, sexual assault, false accusation or doubt, failing in exams, being a joke, husband-wife discord, polygamy, and extramarital relations are notable. 

The organization says that before committing suicide everybody wrestles with their own mind. The person who is defeated in extreme decisiveness, he himself commits suicide.

Asked about the causes and remedies for suicides, the Treasury of South Asian Psychological Association and Professor of the Department of Psychology at Jagannath University Kazi Saifuddin opines that "Most of the suicidal casualties are preventable. If the nearby people are a little care they can save them. 

Even if suicide is not completely stoppable, it is possible to prevent them by introducing community counseling and support from the family members".

Women who are victims of torture, Child marriage, multidisciplinary and dowry, people who are drug addicted, students who have failed in the exam or in love fall victim to suicide. 

"I do not want to live anymore, I hate this life, I want to release everyone, I do not have any worth in life, I do not care about anyone, I do not understand myself, I do not have the right to live, I am not worthy of this society, why I am alive and what to gain from survival" - individuals with such attitudes are at a risk of suicide according to the psychologists.

Doctors say that ninety-five percent of those who commit suicide suffer from some mental illness. Consequently, Suicide can be reduced if proper mental treatment is done in the first place. 

But then again the unavailability of physiatrists, psychologists and the absence of mass-awareness especially in the root level make things worse as of now only 22 Medical Colleges, National Mental Health Institute and Pabna Mental Hospital offer treatment for mental illness.

While sociologists and psychologists are concerned about the issue, there is no such initiative to prevent suicide at the government level. Although preventable, there is no activity in the country to prevent suicide in spite of the order of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the establishment of an institute and research center back in 2014.

In such state of affairs social awareness, community counseling, multilevel and cohesive approach could be the weapon to defeat suicide and suicidal tendencies among our near and dear ones. It is important for all of us to keep eyes open, maybe, a breakdown has started inside our loved ones at home, at school, and in communities.

The writer is a graduate student of the Department of Educational Administration at the Institute of Education & Research, Dhaka University