Suicide rate in the Kathmandu Valley has increased in the aftermath of the April earthquake, which highlights the need for mental health support for the quake victims in the post-disaster situation.
According to recent figures released by the Metropolitan Police Office, suicide rate in the Kathmandu Valley has increased by 24 per cent.
According to the MPCD, 67 cases of suicide were reported in the last two months (Mid-April to mid-June) in the Kathmandu Valley. Before the quake, during mid-February to mid-April, the number of suicide cases reported in the Valley was 54.
Of the total 67 cases reported after the massive quake, 53 are males and 14 females. Suicide among males is nearly four times higher than among females.
Similarly, hanging accounts for 48 cases (38 males and 10 females) of suicide, 17 (13 males and four females) poisoning and two (all males) jumping off a cliff or building. The highest number of suicide cases by age group is 26-35 with 17 followed. There were 15 cases each for people aged 16-25 and 51-65. Fourteen people aged 36-50 and three people below 16 and as many people above 66 were reported to have committed suicide in the past two months.
Police have linked at least seven suicides to April 25 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks.
“Seven persons killed themselves as they lost their mental balance due to deaths of their loved ones and damage to property in the quakes,” a police official said. Police, however, have not said how many of them were males and females.
“We have experienced an increased prevalence of trauma, stress and depression among the urban populations after the quakes. Such factors are more likely to make the disaster victims vulnerable to suicidal tendency. Our study indicates that suicide rate increases after mega disasters, and the victims and survivors need psycho-social counselling and metal health support,” he informed.
Other reasons for the suicides are terminal diseases, betrayal in love, financial problems, mental disorders, domestic disputes and pressure from or scolding by parents among others, police said.
According to the MPCD, majority of suicides were committed due to family disputes (22), followed by mental problem (19).
At least 8,897 people were killed and 22,309 were injured in April and May quakes. In the Kathmandu Valley, 1,738 deaths and 13,104 injuries were reported. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, as many as 152,988 private houses/buildings were destroyed or damaged in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur due to the quakes.