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‘Steps should be taken to save youths from mental illness’

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 8th November, 2021 08:50:13 PM
  • Print news
‘Steps should be taken to save youths from mental illness’

All necessary steps will have to be taken to save the country’s people particularly the youths from the curse of mental illness including serious depression which cause even suicidal incidents here, said Chowdhury Raheeb Sarafat, Youth Mental Health Advocate of Let’s Talk Mental Health.

The mental health expert has come up with the statement while speaking at grand celebration marking three years anniversary of Let's Talk Mental Health at Le Meriden Dhaka hotel on Sunday night. The programme was supported by Poriborton Kori.

Health and Family Welfare minister Zahid Maleque spoke at the function as chief guest while Dr. Mehtab Khanam, honorary professor at Department of Psychology of Dhaka University presented the keynote speech and prominent actress Shampa Reza also spoke there as special guest. Anusha Chowdhury, founder of Let's Talk Mental Health delivered her welcome speech.

Describing a sorry state of mental health of people in Bangladesh, Chowdhury Raheeb Sarafat said people are not good at picturing large numbers, as on an average 10,000 people in Bangladesh take their lives yearly basis, it registers as just a number.

‘And there is no age demographic that is being ravaged today by mental illness quite like the youth, I cannot bring myself to even name a more significant and wider spread issue impacting the youth today than mental illness,” he said.

Mentioning that the second leading cause of death for men below 20 years age is suicide, he said “not only it is just a massive contemporary problem. In just the last 10 years, youth suicide rates are up significantly and show little sign of improvement, from 2012 we have been on an upward trajectory, every year we break some new decade long record for highest suicide rates on record in however many years.”

Chowdhury Raheeb Sarafat said a “2019 survey found that 1 out of every 5 high school student has seriously considered suicide in the previous year meaning 2018, and these numbers may shock you but it does not shock us, we see it, we feel it, we are desensitized to it since we see it so often, this is our “normal”, it doesnt concern most of us but it should concern you.”

He said 1 in 5 high school students consider suicide as a serious future plan, your child could be the one in the five, and also important to note, this survey was taken BEFORE the COVID ordeal, Covid has acted like a catalyst for an already devastating situation, it has acted like petroleum to a wildfire.

Raheeb Sarafat said to illustrate just how devastating its effect has been on social isolation and depression rates, as of today, since March 2020, or the beginning of lockdown, suicide has claimed more lives than COVID has in this country, in the same time frame.

“There is no vaccine against depression or anxiety or suicidal thoughts and if parents could always tell when their child is having these kinds of thoughts, then there would be no youth suicide rate at all. There wouldn't be one but there is, it the second largest cause of death in our age demographic, higher than any disease,” he added.