Kathmandu, Sep. 13: The suicide rate has increased by 14.2 per cent in a year between the fiscal year 2076/77 to 2077/78 BS.
As per the data of Nepal Police, in the fiscal year, 2077/78 BS 7,141 cases of suicide have been recorded which was 889 more than the suicide data of the 2076/77 fiscal year. In the fiscal year 2076/77 BS the number of suicide was 6252.
According to Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and spokesperson of the Nepal Police, the suicide ratio has increased by 14.21 per cent in between the data of two fiscal years. Kunwar said that an average of 14 people commits suicide every day, where, hanging and poisoning are the topmost opted reasons while committing suicide.
“In previous years, the suicide number has been increasing by 450, but, in the fiscal year 2077/78 the number of suicide cases has doubled the previous year increment number.” Kunwar informed The TRN Online.
Out of 7,141 incidents of suicide, 5,720 have committed suicide by hanging, 1,276 by consuming poison, 46 by hanging, 36 by drowning in water, 19 by setting the fire, 18 by using hand tools, and 2 with an electric shock.
“The number of people committing suicide has been increasing each year,” said Dr Phanindra Prasad Baral, Section Chief at Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) & Mental Health Section, of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD).
“Suicide cases have increased more than double this year. Lockdown and COVID-19 pandemic can be reasons behind it but it cannot be solely credited to COVID-19 and lockdown as the cases have been increasing each year even before the pandemic,” said Dr Baral.
Similarly, the suicide number on the fiscal year 2075/76 was 5,754 and the number was 5,317 in 2074/75.
Province 1 has the highest suicide recorded cases and Karnali Province has the lowest suicide cases this year. Province 1 recorded 1518, 959 in Province 2, 1032 in Bagmati Province, 644 in Gandaki Province, 1383 in Lumbini Province, 365 in Karnali Province and 885 in Sudur Paschim Province.
90% cases due to mental illness
Dr Ananta Adhikari, Chief consultant psychiatrist of Mental Hospital, Patan said that the main cause of suicide is mental illness. 90 per cent of suicides are due to some form of mental illness.
Chief Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Adhikari said that depression is the main culprit for suicide. Apart from this, there are also those who commit suicide due to drug addiction, pain, and impulse.
Saying that of suicide is growing alarmingly, Dr Adhikari said that person attempts suicide 10 to 40 times before committing suicide.
According to him, no one commits suicide as soon as the idea of suicide comes. They contemplate or show signs before the final act. “If we can stop them at this stage, then many suicide cases can be prevented,” He said, “Mainly, people choose to commit suicide when they feel that there is no solution to their problem or that there is no one to share with.”
Efforts from the government to reduce suicide cases
Dr Phanindra Baral, Section Chief at NCD and Mental Health Section, said that many mental problems are not said out loud due to societal stigma, therefore, their first priority is to bring out the hidden mental health issues in the society.
In the current fiscal year, the government is operating intimate mental health services in 13 hospitals. He said that the 10-bed service is being operated in 13 hospitals for the expansion of mental illness-related services.
He said, “Currently, there is a psychiatrist in Rajbiraj and Janakpur hospitals. But there is no treatment by admission. Even now, many hospitals do not have beds for the treatment of mental illness. We are starting this service to address this issue.”
In addition, a budget of Rs 5 million has been allocated in each state for the purchase of psychotropic drugs used in mental illness. The government has been providing 11 types of psychotropic drugs.
He further said that the government has also launched community mental health programs to increase public awareness about mental health and prevent the disease.