Suicide cases remain a challenge for law enforcement agency even duirng lockdownAt least 12 suicide deaths are taking place daily across the country, police say.
On Saturday last week, police discovered a body of a man in a house in Chandragiri, Kathmandu.
The body was later identified as that of 24-year-old Arjun Tharu of Bardiya. The cause of his death was ruled as suicide.
Police confirmed from Tharu’s neighbours that he had been living alone in a rented room of the house for the past few years.
“The motive behind the suicide is still a matter of investigation,” Sub Inspector Mohan Thapa, of the Metropolitan Police Office in Thankot, told the Post.
Deaths by suicide have continued to occur during the lockdown when other crimes have decreased dramatically, Nepal Police say.
Out of 702 cases reported with the police across the country in the first two weeks of the lockdown, 198 cases concerned suicidal deaths.
Police say the average daily suicide numbers have hardly changed in last three weeks.
The average daily suicide cases reported to the police across the country stand at fourteen. Since the lockdown was enforced on March 24, Nepal Police is still recording twelve-odd suicide cases daily.
Senior Superintendent of Police Umesh Raj Joshi, spokesperson for the Nepal Police, suspects that, if anything, the ongoing lockdown has been driving many people with mental illness to throw away their lives.
“Loneliness, depression and stress are bound to consume a person with mental illness when they are confined within the walls of their home. And since they cannot reach out to their counselors and friends during this period, there is a high chance of them becoming emotionally volatile,” Joshi told the Post.
During the period of lockdown, Joshi says family support could play a crucial role for a person with mental illness.
According to a 2015 report of the World Health Organization, Nepal ranked 126th by suicide rate globally and has an estimated 6,840 suicides annually—8.2 suicides per 100,000 people.
More and more suicide deaths are being reported across the country every year, according to a police data. A total of 5,124 people committed suicide in the fiscal year 2016/17. The number rose to 5,317 in 2017/18 and to 5,785 in 2018/19.
Consultant psychiatrist Prabhakar Pokharel fears the Covid-19 pandemic could drive many people to depression and suicide risk.
“Many people have already started to feel hopeless because of the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic. A great deal of them have taken loans and now suddenly they find themselves unable to pay because their businesses are closed and at risk of shutting down entirely. They are at risk of stress and depression,” Pokharel said.
He suggests that the government should come up with a financial safety net in order to help the people and businesses affected by the pandemic.
“Meanwhile, the society should also foster a greater sense of community to help those who are in dire straits,” he adds.