‘Suicide Rate Down In Kashmir’

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“If Kashmiris face any problems in adulthood, they refrain from committing suicide because they know how to cope up with difficult situations.”

EVEN as the political and pandemic lockdowns created what experts say ‘a great mental distress’ in the disturbed region since 2019 summer, Jammu & Kashmir has reported a 13.9 percent decrease in suicide rate in 2019, as compared to 2018.

The number of suicides in J&K was 330 in 2018, which has come down to 284 in 2019 — the year when the region faced the harshest clampdown and communication crisis following the abrogation of Article 370.

Deconstructing the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, Hayat Kaiser, Counseling Psychologist at Childline Budgam, told Kashmir Observer that people in the valley are resilient, despite suffering from the protracted problem in their backyard.

“Kashmiris naturally come forward to help others and that’s why people here with mental illnesses are not at higher risk of suicide,” the counseling psychologist said.

Kashmiris have been brought up in tough conditions since childhood, said a psychologist counselor at District Hospital Pulwama.

“If they face any problems in adulthood,” he said, “they refrain from committing suicide because they know how to cope up with difficult situations.”

According to the NCRB data, the cause for a majority of suicides (94) in J&K comes under the category of ‘causes not known,’ followed by unemployment (40) and family problems (37).

Currently, the unemployment rate in Jammu & Kashmir is at 11.1 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Notably, J&K’s unemployment rate is more than the all-India rate of 8.35 percent.

The data also mentions the suicide rates in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) which consists of Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Assam Rifles (AR) and National Security Guard (NSG).

36 CAPF personnel have committed suicides during 2019. Out of which, three cases came under the category ‘causes not known’.

On being asked about the suicides of CAPF in Kashmir, Dr. Arif Maghribi, community psychiatrist, told Kashmir Observer that the armed forces have to live in the stressful place and due to frequent curfews and communication clampdown, they’re not able to contact their family members.

“Anyone living away from home will have stress and a person from some other state will have more stress,” Maghribi said. “And there comes a point in person’s life when this silently mounting stress makes him suicidal.”

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