Bengaluru, Jul 11: Amidst the mounting number of covid-19 cases, Karnataka is witnessing another disturbing trend of increasing number of people ending their life. After the lockdown was relaxed, the state saw a worrying jump in the number of suicides.
According to statistics, as many as 2,211 suicide cases have been registered in just two months. The number of suicides rose by 23% in May to 1,127, and by another 18% in June to 1,084, from an average of 912 suicides in the first three months of the year.
In April, however, the number nearly halved to 477. But April was also the month during which the lockdown (announced on March 24) was complete, and everyone was at home -- which, experts say, could have prevented people with suicidal tendencies from taking their own lives.
Shockingly, number of teenagers including school children committing suicide also increased in the state in past couple of months.
With the pandemic still accelerating and impacting people in multiple ways, the World Health Organisation has urged people to pay greater attention to mental health and suicide prevention.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, World Health Organisation (WHO), South-East Asia Region, said stigma related to Covid-19 infection may lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Another precipitating factor impacting mental health amidst Covid-19 could be domestic violence, which is reported to have increased globally as several countries imposed lockdowns, she said.
“Hitting lives and livelihoods, the pandemic is causing fear, anxiety, depression and stress among people. Social distancing, isolation and coping with perpetually evolving and changing information about the virus has both triggered and aggravated existing and pre-existing mental health conditions, which need urgent attention,” she said.
Dr H Chandrashekar, professor and head of the department of psychiatry at Victoria Hospital, said reasons for suicide are always multi-factored, combined, cumulative, unresolving and interrelated.
“There is grief everywhere now due to deaths related to Covid-19, and it may have an adverse effect on some. But people should be watchful of their family members, especially those who are in depression and have a history of suicide attempts. One should never ignore signs, like when someone says they feel like ending their life. They should not be left alone, and unconditional support needs to be given. Also, objects that could be used to commit suicide must be kept away from them,” Dr Chandrashekar said.