Suicides account for more deaths than war

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

 Suicide accounted for more deaths in the country than the war, a mental health specialist revealed yesterday.

From 1985 to 2000, around 106,000 persons had committed suicide and the figure was double the number killed in the war during the same period. In 1995 around 8,500 suicides were recorded, but in 2012 it had dropped to 3,500 persons. That was a welcome downward trend, Mental Health Unit Director Dr. Mrs. Rasanjalee Hettiarchchi said.

She was speaking at a media conference held on account of the ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’, which falls today (10).

Dr. Mrs. Rasanjalee pointed out that committing suicide was a mental disease. Most persons who were suffering from bouts of depression were liable to commit suicide. The dramatic increase in the incidence of suicide could be minimised if the sale of toxic agrochemicals was restricted.

She added that there were three reasons for suicide and also that most persons between the ages of 15 and 35 were committing suicide. According to studies carried out by the Mental Health Unit, people had the tendency to commit suicide as they suffered from mental imbalance, stress and chronic depression. It was extremely important to get timely medical attention for such people from qualified doctors or psychiatrists, she said.

Director General Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala said that many people were liable to commit suicide due to social marginalization, social stigma, ill treatment by relatives or family members and economic reasons. Some people committed suicide due to their inability to face the society when they were branded as thieves, culprits or unwanted persons. Modern medicine had scientifically proven that mental disorders that would lead to suicide attempts could be cured.

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