Himachal government collecting data on suicides: Official
The Himachal Pradesh government is in the process of compiling data on suicides committed in the state, an official said on October 10 on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Himachal Pradesh State Mental Health Authority (HPSMHA) Sanjay Pathak said that the step is being taken as there was no official data on the suicide rate in the hill-state."Exact data of suicides in HP is not available. However, we are obtaining the figures from police stations and district hospitals and will soon come out with the findings," Pathak told PTI.
Citing the national average suicide rate of 10.6 persons per one lakh population, Pathak said Himachal Pradesh has a population of around 74 lakh and therefore, on an average, at least two people commit suicide daily in the hill-state. "As per ratio of suicides of 10.6 persons per lakh at national level annually, 700-800 persons in HP commit suicide every year," Pathak said. "Unmarried and single persons commit more suicides as compared to married persons," he added.
Assistant Professor cum Psychologist at Shoolini University in Solan, Anita Chauhan, said: "Stress and not being able to speak one's mind to another person are also among the main reasons apart from social causes for suicides."
"If you see suicidal tendency in someone, interact with them and boost their morale. Change that person's mind with positive thought. Subsequently, that person may be referred to a psychiatrist," Chauhan told PTI.
According to WHO, World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. The theme this year is suicide prevention.
Pathak, who is also the senior medical superintendent at Himachal Hospital of Mental Health and Rehabilitation, Boileauganj in Shimla, said suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall and second in the age group 15-29 years in the country as he called for "urgent intervention". Suicide is a major psychiatric public health emergency and devising plans to handle it requires interventions at bio-psycho-social level, he added.
Further, over 90 per cent of the people who commit suicide have diagnosed psychiatric illness like major depression, schizophrenia or bipolar, personality disorders and have problem-solving skills. Pathak said: "Close circle of the patient, family, and friends should be able to pick up the suicidal ideation and thoughts of the patient and seek psychological and psychiatric help to deal with the problem."
"Warmth in the family relation is important in imparting a sense of well being to person. A cordial, harmonious, caring, empathetic family feelings are greatest protection to a suicidal person," he added. Psychosocial treatment, psychotherapy, distress-tolerance skills, family therapy treatment of psychiatric cause and increasing public awareness are a must to reduce suicide cases, he said further. Regulating formulations, packaging and sale of pesticides, regulation of over-the-counter medication and introducing alcohol policies may also prove helpful in reducing suicides, he said.