Suicide cases and episodes of self-harm increasing over the years

According to the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) statistics this year, a total of 56 individuals (41 male and 15 female) have died by suicide. Division XI Thimphu has recorded the highest number of suicide cases with 9 individuals (7 male and 2 female).

The age category ranged from 60 years and above with 10 individuals committing suicide at this age, 17 individuals in the 40-59 years range, 20 individuals in 20-39 years, 7 individuals in 13-19 years and 2 in below 12 years.

In 2022 a total of 112 individuals (74 male and 38 female) committed suicide. 2021 saw 100 cases (71 male and 29 female) of suicide. In 2020, there were 105 suicide cases (69 male and 36 female) 2019 saw 102 cases (69 male and 33 female) of suicide, and in 2018 the police recorded 90 (57 male and 33 female) suicide cases.

The Annual Health Bulletin 2022 saw the highest number of cases related to mental disorders in the 2021 with 4,131 cases of individuals with anxiety, 2,410 cases of depression, 1,716 cases of other mental disorders and 971 cases of psychosis.

Common and prevalent mental health disorders in the country are anxiety, depression and mental and behavioral disorders due to alcohol and substance abuse.

Determinants for mental health are multi-dimensional as it is influenced by social factors, economic reasons, genetic factors, working environment, health status and family environment.

As such, there are various fragmented services initiated and there is a need for a holistic approach for mental health care.

The Ministry of Health, therefore, initiated explicit and coordinated response mechanisms to deliver timely, reliable and effective interventions through multi-sectoral and coordinated efforts. Broadly, it will focus on four major areas, proactive and responsive mental health service delivery networks, enabling the mental health system, multisectoral collaboration and coordination and active advocacy on prevention of mental disorders.

Also, to address mental health issues, the Department of Education has launched e-Counselling and consultation services. The service aims to support students as mental health disorders are growing.

The ministry has also trained principals, counsellors, and teachers in dzongkhags and thromdes to enhance counselling services in the schools.

In its intervention to reduces cases related to mental health issues and suicides, RBP is also visiting public gatherings, especially schools to give awareness and sensitization.

Colonel Passang Dorji, RBP Headquarters said that if there are certain behavioral changes in an individual, family and friends are most likely to notice it.

“If an individual has a certain change in his/her behavior or shows signs of depression, their family members and friend circles will surely come to notice it. If these changes prolong then early interventions needs to be made as soon as possible. These are issues that cannot be taken for granted. It is crucial to maintain the momentum and ensure that mental health remains a top priority and elderly members in the family should make sure to guide and educate younger members in the family.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please reach out to the PEMA Secretariat hotline at 1010 or 112.

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