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The darker side

Going by the cases, it’s not only adults but also children who have the tendency to take one’s life. The rich could be prone to it and so is the ordinary person. But what we are oblivious about is that small voice that triggers such a consequence.

It’s regrettable as well as very upsetting, but none the less true. Suicide is gradually creeping into our society.

Just about a month back, we saw two students in Bumthang commit suicide where the disturbing photograph depicting the deceased with graphic details was even going viral on social media like Facebook and WeChat.

The above case, however, is not the single one that many of us chanced upon. There are many more people taking their own lives for one reason or the other that we don’t hear of. About 96 suicide cases, including attempted ones, were reported to the police last year. This means that eight people committed suicide every month in a country like ours with around 750,000 people. There is definitely a reason for great concern. But what is quite thought provoking is the reason for people resorting to this mean. Are lives’ circumstances precipitating suicide in our society?

Going by the cases, it’s not only adults but also children who have the tendency to take one’s life. The rich could be prone to it and so is the ordinary person. But what we are oblivious about is that small voice that triggers such a consequence.

It’s a very disturbing trend. We proclaim ourselves as the land of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Almost every policy is centered on this concept. However, we should also not forget the fact that a chunk of our near and dear ones conclude dying as the best way out.  These are obviously not the people who seem to be happy. Are we failing in our pursuit of GNH then?

The soaring suicide cases are also a vindication of our collapsing social system. There was more altruism in the past. People sacrificed for each other. Today we don’t even know who our next neighbor is. People are becoming individualistic. In the midst of all that, poverty is high. The least trigger may send people to the extremes.Reluctant

According to scientific reports, the reasons for suicide are numerous. But it’s mostly extreme depression that sometimes drives suicidal tendencies. And as a country, we don’t have adequate experts to tackle cases of severe depression and mental disorder that may lead to suicide. Pathetically, we have negligible numbers of psychiatrist or psychologist working in the country.

Further, we even don’t know exactly how common suicide is in the country. There are no available data. Getting the correct statistics and a real study on this matter is pivotal if we are serious about tackling this issue. The time has also come, besides the training of psychiatrists to take care of severe depression and creating awareness, to place emphasis on this issue because the problem of suicide is becoming real.

This article is written by Namkhai Norbu, Executive Director, Guide Association of Bhutan/ Lecturer, Royal Thimphu College


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