Nepal records 2212 suicide related deaths in 4 months. Urgent action towards addressing mental health necessary.

Mental health illustration

2212 people have committed suicide in Nepal from 24th March to 21st July – during the period of a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure towards the spread of COVID-19 in Nepal. The high number of suicides has many experts advising the government to take mental health more seriously.

According to the figures revealed by Nepal Police, they have recorded 2,202 suicide cases during the period. Despite 2,202 recorded cases, 2,212 individuals died because in some cases more than one individual committed suicide together.

Hanging oneself continues to be the most common form of committing suicide. Of the 2212 recorded deaths during the lockdown, 1819 people committed suicide by hanging. 341 people consumed poison, 17 jumped off from an elevated place, 12 drowned themselves to death, 4 via burning oneself, and one via electrocution.

The males dominated the cases of suicide with 1,172 of them involving men followed by 811 women and 235 children

In Nepal, according to Police data, an average 5,000 Nepalis commit suicide every year. The numbers were already high for the small South-east nation, however the lockdown has further increased the number of suicide related deaths.

Mental health experts accept that counselling is being provided through various organisations but it is a must that the organisations and government collaborate in expanding the counselling campaigns.

“Various problems in one’s life deteriorate the mental health issues and prompt an individual to commit suicide. Due to COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, many individual’s mental health has worsened because of the effects in their day-to-day life,” said Dr. Ritesh Thapa, director and neuropsychiatrist at Rhythm Neuropsychiatry Hospital.

While the government’s policies and programmes for the new fiscal year have acknowledged the health sector as a priority, health experts have, however, wished that the government lived up to its commitment.

Meanwhile, Nepal Police ensured to have been conducting the investigation into every suicide case effectively as the criminal code states that abetment to suicide is a punishable crime.

“There is two years’ time for investigating a suicide case. If the investigators find out that someone forced an individual to commit suicide by creating such an environment, such person will be arrested,” said Shahi.