The curious case of suicides in Pakistan

It has become a common phenomenon among the youth to vent on social media about their depression and often attempting to kill themselves. In a country where depression is considered a taboo and suicide are criminal offenses, those social media posts are seen as nothing but desperate attention tactics. The unfortunate reality is that they actually do it for attention just not for the reason most people think but no one including close friends and family takes them seriously and they are left isolated with only one solution in their mind.

Last year we saw a forthcoming model, Anam Tanoli committed suicide due to severe depression. Another unfortunate case was that of a medical student Jamal Muhammad who was unable to cope with the pressure of studies. There are many other similar cases which may not have widely reported in the media.

The issue is that when a case like this occurs, social media goes abuzz and many celebrities talk about suicide awareness and raising issues on mental health. But the problem is that no one talks about what to implement and how to take practical measures in order to prevent similar cases from happening.

Pakistan is an overpopulated country and despite that, there is not a significant number of psychiatrists and psychologists available in the country, according to a 2009 report by WHO (World Health Organization). Secondly, mental health is not taken as a serious issue even by close family and friends. The third and most important reason is that even someone goes for therapy, it is very expensive. Many Pakistanis do not have the means to go for such expensive therapy.

There are also very few statistics and reports which are outdated on the issue of suicide in the country. This year, we have seen an alarming rise in suicides in the country among the youth. The lack of importance given to such cases needs to be dealt with and the stigma attached with it must be removed. The fact that suicide is a criminal offense is not going to stop anyone from committing suicide. Instead, the government should take proper steps in order to erase the mindset that is attached to suicide and depression. They should also provide free or affordable healthcare for people who are dealing with such issues. Educational institutions can also play a major role by assigning counselors in order to address the matter. Families and friends should also check up on their loved ones and get proper help for them when they notice signs.

It is important to ensure concrete matters; otherwise, this will keep happening. Because it is a concerning matter and there are ways that can be taken to stop this. So please, seek help or reach out to anyone you’re close to in case something is happening. Remember, there is always someone out there to help and you’re strong enough to deal with it.