.. by Asma Elahi
In the past few years, the suicide rate in Chitral region has reached an alarming level and drastic measures are needed to overcome this situation. Most of the suicide cases in Chitral involve teenagers, specifically females. Suicide is the act of killing oneself as the result of depression and mental illness, which is a wake-up call for the entire region. Surprisingly, Chitral has one of the highest suicide rates in Pakistan and one of the highest literacy rates as well. Depression is considered to be its major cause.
Depression is a mood disorder that involves constant sadness and feelings of loss of interest. It is different from the mood swings that people often experience in life.
People who suffer from depression face difficulties in performing daily routine tasks because it is a persistent problem, not a temporary one. It consists of onset of symptoms lasting at least 2 weeks. It can last for weeks, months, or sometimes even years. However, people in the region often mistake it for being possessed and refer to panic attacks as some paranormal activity which further worsens the situation.
As far as the causes of depression specifically in the region are concerned, the fierce competition among students in the field of education has also been blamed. When students’ grades are lower than the expectations of parents, it results in giving birth to frustration among teenagers, and thus they commit suicide.
The announcement of the intermediate examination results last year was followed by an increase in suicide rate. Less than a week after the results were announced, there were reports of six female students who committed suicide by throwing themselves into the Chitral River.
One of the most important things that create suicidal thoughts among young generation is the environment, because the environment plays a vital role in changing mood and bringing relaxation to mind. If we look at the environment of Chitral, it is all surrounded by mountains, no parks, markets, well-constructed roads and Internet facilities are available, there are no activities suitable for them, and there is no good environment to change their minds. Most of them are focused on acquiring education. They hope to settle down through education, they hope that through education they will get a good job, and then they will have a bright future and that is the reason why even a thought of failure makes them desperate to commit suicide.
According to some experts, the limited job and less income opportunities also creates sense of deprivation among the young people, which is driving force for suicide among this class.
Majority of the suicide incidents includes young males and females. Reports show that a married woman committed suicide by throwing herself into the river. Similarly, a 40-year-old man Sadruddin and resident of Yarkhun had gone missing and later his body was found floating in the river.
The thing that is needed in Chitral is awareness about the depression that is actually ending their hope for living a beautiful and successful life. In order to change the thinking and social structure of the region, a higher attention from government towards the construction of new schools, universities, playgrounds, market roads, and fast Internet facilities is needed. .. Asma Elahi, 26 Dec 2021