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Suicide raises alarm, Sikkim to arrest the trend

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

Gangtok, Feb 18: Rising incidents of suicides in Sikkim over thelast few years have forced the state government and NGOs to chalk outstrategies to arrest the trend.

Of late, the cases have reached an alarming proportion with atleast one case being reported with the police every three days on anaverage.

According to state crime branch, about 120 suicide cases werereported in 2004, 115 in 2005 and 121 in 2006, which are high figurefor a small state like Sikkim with a population of little more thanfive lakh.

Jolted by the high suicide rate, the crime branch had analysed thecases committed during July and December 2006 to assess the reason andsuggest some possible solutions to check this social malady.

The crime branch report stated that 60 suicides were committedduring the period and the major reasons were mental illness anddepression followed by family problems, drug addiction, prolongedillness, failure in examinations and love affairs.

The analysis ruled out poverty as a reason for suicide as thestate's per capita income stands at more than Rs 26000, the highest inthe country.

The East district topped the list with 27 cases followed by Southdistrict 17, West district 13 and North 13. Out of the 60 at least 39were males and the rest were females.

The report further revealed that 35 per cent people committedsuicide due to mental illness, 13.33 per cent each due to familyproblem and alcohol addetion, ten per cent counted for prolongedillness and five per cent took this drastic step after failing in theexams.

Interestingly, contary to the general belief, only 3.3 per centended their lives following failure in love affairs, the analysis said.

The report said about 90 per cent of those who committed suicidesduring July and December, 2006, were in 15 to 45 years age group.Hanging was found to be the most preferred way to end life with 52people found dead. Others got downed in the river, resorting toexcessive drinking, self immolation and consuming poison. House wivesconstituted about 22.95 per cent of the suicide cases followed by 19.67per cent of self-employed people, unemployed youth 11.47 per cent,government employees 8.19 per cent and others 26.22 per cent.

Since untreated mental-illness was a major cause of suicide, theanalysis suggested to open counselling centres in all four districtheadquarters and launch an awareness campaign with the help of socialwelfare department, psychiatrists, sociologists, and religiousteachers.

It also suggested to conduct a survey to identify people withsuicidal tendencies and to overcome the social stigma associated withmental illness and offer them medical care.

Income generating opportunities should be developed at a largerscale for women facing problem due to martial discord, domesticviolence and problem, the analysis said.

Recently, CARE, an NGO, has taken initiative to challenge thesocial malady, focussing on schools, colleges, villages and governmentdepartments to spread the message about the need for treatment ofmental illness.

They also held a workshop and roped in experts from various walks of life to spread the message to the targeted group.

Eminent Psychiatrist C L Pradhan said untreated mental illness accounted for about 95 per cent of the total suicide cases.

''Mental illness was curable but due to the stigma associated withthe disease people hesitate to approach the doctor leading tosuicide,'' he said.

''Grameen Mental illness Programme'' was launched by the statehealth and family welfare department recently to sensitise the peopleabout the mental problem and the need for treatment.


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