Jammu: Three decades of conflict, a total shutdown for months in the state since the abrogation of Article 370, three years ago and two long periods of lockdown during the first and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of this together created a serious mental health crisis in Jammu and Kashmir, and led to a sudden spurt in suicides in the Union Territory in recent times.
Stress- related diseases have grown manifold across the social spectrum, driving people mostly youngsters increasingly to commit suicide said Dr Naresh Purohit- Advisor National Mental Health Programme.
Concerned with the increasing number of suicide cases in the region renowned disaster mental health expert Dr Purohit told UNI here on the occassion of world suicide prevention day that most of the suicides in J&K are taking place due to family and marriage issues, failed relations, mental health issues, unemployment, societal pressure, joblessness and various other insecurities of life.
He pointed that in urban areas, hanging, jumping into rivers and consuming poison are some of the most common methods.
In villages pesticides are often used. Women commonly set themselves ablaze during suicide attempts.
“The social support system for the youngsters has gone down drastically with the proliferation of more nuclear families and live-in relations,” he added
According to Visiting Professor – Psychology, at the Srinagar based – School of Education and Behavioural Science, University of Kashmir , Dr Purohit , 45% of Kashmir’s adult population (1.8 million) was suffering from some form of mental distress or the other.
“There is a high prevalence of depression (41 percent), anxiety (26 percent), post-traumatic stress disorder (19 percent), and 47 percent had experienced some sort of trauma,” he said.
He averred that as per National Crime Records in recent years, 284 suicides were reported in 2019, that is, 2.1 suicides per lakh population, an increase of 13.9% from 2018 in the region.
He stated that according to a 2019 report published by the National Human Rights Commission, 20,000 people have attempted suicide during the 14 years of socio-political turmoil in the Valley. About 3,000 of them have died and most of them were in the 16 to 25 age group.