• By: Muhammad Faisal – November 24, 2023

The beautiful, serene and picturesque district of Chitral, nestled in the northwestern region of Pakistan, has been grappling with a concerning rise in suicide cases. Over the past five years, the local police stations within the Lower Chitral district reported a staggering total of 63 suicides. These distressing statistics shed light on a deeply alarming situation that demands immediate attention and comprehensive action and an immediate need of psychologists in this region.

According to official documents, the suicide rate among women stood at 54 percent and while in men it is accounted for 46 percent of the reported cases. Behind these distressing numbers lie poignant narratives of individuals succumbing to the pressures of life. Poor mental health emerged as the primary contributor to these tragic incidents, with a staggering 46 per cent of suicides attributed to stress and various mental illnesses. Shockingly, domestic violence was identified as a significant factor, accounting for 23 per cent of the cases.

Two recent incidents, Nausheen Rahmat’s untimely demise in Bilphok village and Haleema Bibi’s tragic end in Zang Lasht village, epitomise the distressing reality faced by the youth and women in the region. Nausheen, a 19-year-old aspiring student, took her own life after facing disappointment in failing the entrance test for BS Nursing at Aga Khan University, Karachi. Meanwhile, Haleema Bibi, a 25-year-old married woman, was found hanging inside her home in Zang Lasht village, raising deep concerns about the mental health challenges faced by women in Chitral.

However, understanding suicide and preventive measures must be the first priority. As,suicide is a complex and tragic event that occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed by their circumstances, experiencing intense emotional pain and a perceived inability to cope with life’s challenges. It’s often an outcome of underlying mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma, exacerbated by external stressors like academic pressures, societal expectations, or domestic conflicts.

Preventing suicide requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both individual and societal factors. First and foremost, raising awareness about mental health and eradicating the stigma associated with seeking professional help is crucial. Accessible mental health services and counselling should be made available to individuals facing distress.

Moreover, community support networks, educational institutions, and workplaces must foster environments that prioritise mental wellness. This includes implementing stress management programs, promoting work-life balance, and creating safe spaces for individuals to openly discuss their struggles without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Addressing societal issues like domestic violence through stringent legal measures and comprehensive support systems for victims is imperative. Equally important is ensuring equal opportunities and reducing the undue societal pressure placed on individuals, particularly women, regarding education, career, and societal roles.

In conclusion, the escalating suicide rate in Chitral is a distressing call to action. To mitigate this crisis, concerted efforts from both governmental and non-governmental organisations are essential. By prioritising mental health support, fostering supportive communities, and addressing societal pressures, we can collectively strive to prevent further loss of precious lives in Chitral.Morivee, It’s imperative that we act swiftly and decisively to address this pressing issue and provide the necessary support to those in need.

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