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Suicides - An Emerging Problem in Haryana

Suicides - An Emerging Problem in Haryana, naya haryana, नया हरियाणा

3rd September 2014

Naya Haryana

Life is precious and nature created life to be lived fully. So when an individual decides to end one's life, he or she loses the one opportunity that nature has given us, i.e. to live and experience all facets of life, to the fullest.

However, the experience of life for some is not always a happy one and different people react to such moments or situations, differently. Some are able to cope with the pressure of failure or loss, while others let disappointment, sadness and a sense of defeat overcome their will to survive and take that fatal step of ending their life.

Haryana has seen several suicides from cities to rural areas, therefore we need to understand why this is happening and what is the state government doing about it. The facts reveal a disturbing trend. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report for 2013, Haryana has seen a 17.3% increase in the number of suicides over 2012.

As per the Haryana Police State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) recent report, there were 2,827 persons who committed suicide in Haryana, of which 2,071 were men and 756 were women. These are worrying statistics and one would like to ask of the Hooda administration as to what are they doing about this?

In an amusing analysis of trying to find out what caused these suicides, the Haryana Police reportedly came to the conclusion that one of the reasons that causes a person to commit suicide is the excessive hot weather in Haryana! The conclusion reached was that the heat triggers release of certain hormones which then brings out violent tendencies in persons. Their solution: drink more water! Needless to say, this conclusion was trashed by experts.

The problem is that this government has made no serious attempt to understand and analyse why its citizens are being driven to suicide, when the state claims to be one of the fastest developing states.

So why are citizens of Haryana committing suicide?

Emotional over reaction

According to SCRB statistics reveal that the maximum number of suicides (12%) in the state is caused due to family tension, while 3% suicides was due to indifferent mindset.

There are several interpersonal relationships that go sour. Be it between two young lovers (which is very common), between husband and wife (again very common), between parents and adult children, all of these could trigger an overreaction of emotion, resulting in an extreme sense of hopelessness and helplessness. In such situations, individual either wants revenge by hurting oneself or want freedom from the situation. In either case, the individual tends to react immediately by ending ones life.

Sense of failure

Human beings have evolved because of goals and aspiration set by an individual or society. Each individual aspires for a better result. Be it in academic grades in any stage of the education process, be it a higher salary, a job promotion, public recognition or awards, and failure to achieve any or all of these can cause an individual to undergo deep emotional stress. The SCRB Report showed that 3% of the suicides was on account of property related disputes, 2% of the suicides was due to failure in examinations, while Job related stress lead to 2% of the suicides.

Farmers are often seen falling prey to pressure from money lenders or banks, caused by losses incurred due to crop failure or bad investment. In 2012, there were 276 farmers who committed suicide in Haryana. This is seen as an ultimate step to prevent the vicious cycle of debt passing on to the next generation.

Social stigma

In our society, honour is given a lot of importance and when this honour is taken away or perceived to be taken away, an individual feels a deep sense of loss of face in family and society, where the only way out seems to be to take one's life.

This was recently seen in two teenaged girls of Rohtak district who committed suicide, to escape from sexual harassment and to save their family's honour. Similarly, in cases of unforeseen pre-marital pregnancy, there is a deep fear of being socially ostracised by family or society that leads several girls and women to end their lives.

Medical condition

Several people suffer from various forms of depression. The general sense of feeling low and loss of self-esteem very often leads people of all ages, to end their lives. In many cases of terminal illness and the subsequent financial burden on the family, leads one to commit suicide. SCRB report stated that 8% of the suicides was due to medical ailment, which was the second highest cause for suicide.

Excessive substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs can also lead to same end. 2.5% of the suicides were due to this reason.

Are suicides an urban phenomenon in Haryana?

There is a general misconception that suicide is an urban problem and therefore it is more prevalent in urban areas. That is not true. The problem is fairly extensive in rural areas as well and for all the above mentioned reasons.

Why has this government failed in addressing this problem?

The Hooda government has to take the blame for this situation in the state where its own citizens have been committing suicide in large numbers when every life is precious. The state government has had enough time to tackle this issue but has not had the time to give due priority to this serious problem. The following are the areas that the present government could have looked into but have failed.

More professionals needed

Firstly, there is an urgent need for greater number of well-trained professional psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors, in cities, districts and villages. These are unfortunately not adequately available in cities, leave alone in districts and villages of Haryana. The doctor to patient ratio is abysmal.

This is a responsibility of the state and it should have given due priority to this problem and taken urgent steps to enhance the number of seats for psychiatry in medical colleges.

More help centres needed

The next step that government should have taken was to set up professional counselling centres in all districts and maximum villages. Unless the people have confidence in the level of professional help from psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors, people will not turn to them when they need it most. Visiting these centres must be the first resort in times of stress, rather than the last.

More awareness programs needed

One of the most important aspects of dealing with this problem is creating an awareness and understanding of the problem. The Hooda government did very little in this regard and its citizens have had to pay the price.

They failed to reach out to children, teenagers, young adults, adults and senior citizens to make them understand that life must be experienced with all the good moments and also the not so good ones. We saw no initiatives from the state government to connect with the people given the seriousness of the situation.

A Naya Haryana can only be successful if its citizens are happy and healthy. Every life is precious and we must all help each other in living life to its fullest. At each level, be it home, school or workplace, the situation and problems are different and therefore they all need to be addressed at various levels. Friends, relatives, peer groups can all play a very significant role in easing stress situations.

Remember, tomorrow is another day and it's for us to decide whether to make it a happy one or not.

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