A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Ministry of Health and the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) on the implementation of the Action Plan for Suicide Prevention in the country. The same MoU will be signed with other relevant stakeholders.
A study over five years from 2009 to 2015 showed that 361 suicide cases has been reported which comes to about 70 cases per year or six cases per month.
The government is concerned about the increasing number, of suicides in the country for the past few years.
Suicide prevention is new in the country and all the documentations on suicides are done by the RBP. As of now, no other agencies have done documentation on the number of suicide case in the country because such cases need investigation.
A RBP official said that, RBP have already started and in-fact they are on job. They have been working on this for a long time, not in terms of prevention but more towards investigation of such cases.
Now with Action Plan for the Suicide prevention in the country, the police will further enhance what the police should be doing to prevent such issues.
The ten included agencies which will be signing MoU with MoH will be MoE, DoYS, Dratshang Lhengtshog, RBP, BNCA, JDWNRH, KGUMS, MoHCA, RENEW and BICMA. All those ten stakeholders are selected with a relation to suicide prevention.
They already have signed with five agencies and some of the dzongkhags have already started implementating of the action plan.
Yeshi Wangdi, Deputy Chief Program Officer, MoH said that, since suicide is a social issues, it is not easy to prevent and it is challenging at times. This action plan is, to change the mindset of the individual who have developed the idea of suicide.
“The investigation report says that, the first and maximum causes of suicide are due to drug abuse followed by relationship issue and then comes disease related issues (chronic disease)”, he said.
The action plan for Suicide prevention is initially set for a duration of three years in-accordance with the 11the five year plan and a report will be submitted to cabinet after that.
He also said that, while making this action plan they have involved representatives from all relevant stakeholder and they have discussed the suicide prevention measures and where to implement these measures.
“There are so many activities in the plan out of which the one important activity is in-line with religious talk where religious experts will talk on the value of life to every individual”, he added.
However, he said that, the main implementation should take place in Dzongkhags headed by Dzongdas whereby Dzongdas should take responsibility to implement this plan at the Dzonkhag level.
MoH has established a national steering committee. According to the study, suicide is common in rural areas as well.
He said, “We have a myth that the suicide usually happens among a certain group of people who are unemployed etc but it is spread among the population including the educated.”
Stakeholders have their own responsibility in implementing the action plan. The Cabinet approved the action plan in May 2015 whereby in two months period of time, the MoH established a steering committee and in addition, they also have established suicide prevention program. They started implementing from July 2015 and have been working until now.