Tuesday, 28 March, 2023


Suicides: Concerns and Causes

Dr. Kazi S. M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi

Suicides: Concerns and Causes
Dr. Kazi S. M. Khasrul Alam Quddusi

Life is such a gift by the Almighty that one can get once and taking one’s own life is considered a great sin. However, suicide is a means by which men and women seemingly get rid of this life when it turns sour for them. Humans are emotional beings. Suicides occur due to uncontrolled emotions as well as mental disorders. There will be challenges in life. However, instead of facing the challenges, suicide cannot be a remedy.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), more than 700,000 people commit suicide each year. However, there are many more people who attempt suicide. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among the people aged between 15 and 29 years. 77% of global suicides occur in low-and-middle-income countries.

Intake of pesticides, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally. Alarmingly, the suicide rates are expected to rise, in view of the WHO’s declaration that suicide rates will pass the one million marks in the next 15 years. As per Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), on an average, 10,000 people commit suicide in Bangladesh every year.

Students are the lifeline of the country. However, a recent study has revealed that 532 students across Bangladesh committed suicide in 2022 and it is indeed a disturbing figure. The data was revealed recently by Aachol Foundation. According to the data, suicide was significant among school students, with 340 school and equivalent-level students committing suicides.

Moreover, 106 students at college and equivalent levels committed suicide, among whom 54 were madrasa students. Suicide was high among university students too as 86 university students opted to commit suicide to end their life. Among them, 65.03% of female students and 34.07% of male students were school students, while 59.44% of women and 40.56% of men were college students. Students aged between 13 and 19 years were prone to suicide most as 405 students, who took the extreme path last year are teenagers and the percentage is 76.12 percent. The age of 43 students who committed suicide ranged from 7 to 12 years, basically children.

Among the several reasons, the highest number of suicides took place because of humiliation. Another reason for suicide among students is love affair accounting for 23.32 percent of the total cases, 3.14 percent due to family disputes, 2.01 percent due to depression, 1.79 percent due to mental problems, 1.79 percent due to financial problems and 3.13 percent committed suicide due to harassment, rape and sexual harassment.

A different study by Aachol Foundation found in 2021 that 61.2% of young people are suffering from depression. The respondents in this study reported that they are facing excessive stress, loneliness, pressure to get married, uncertain future, session jams in universities, financial instability, and cell phone addiction.

In a research article S M Yasir Arafat and others have mentioned that the major life events responsible for suicide in Bangladesh include increased arguments with a family member, academic failure, breakup of engagement, increased arguments with spouse, sexual harassment, extramarital affair, loan, unfaithful conjugal relationship and death of a spouse.

Among the causes cited above, some are such problems that cannot be solved easily such as uncertain future, loan and financial instability. However, depressions, humiliation, quarrel with family members, disagreement with spouse, and unfaithful conjugal life are either manageable or avoidable and can be resolved through goodwill and peace of mind. Suicides due to sexual harassments must be deterred by visible legal actions.

Suicides due to break-up in relationship can be said to be a fallacy in the young people. Being engaged emotionally with someone may be bliss in student life. However, it is not an essential job for one. Life is not so facile that one should end it following being ditched by the loved one. In fact, if a student can succeed in becoming a skilled person, getting a loved one is just a matter of time.

Increase of suicides in teenagers and even in children is another concern that debilitates one’s mind. Here again, the offenders need to be handled with an iron hand if the suicides are due to rape and sexual harassments. However, if the suicides are due to silly matters, then the mental health professionals need to delve into the social or mental inconsistencies that are responsible. Guardians, too, look into it with a probing mind.

Mental health practitioners think that mental health challenges in Bangladesh have remained unmet owing to lack of awareness and paucity of mental health professionals. Admittedly, timely intervention is the key to preventing unexpected deaths or suicides. Educational institutions need to conduct regular counselling with students, teachers and parents to avoid such incidents.

In fact, educational institutions in Bangladesh should have experts to address students’ mental health issues. In their absence, teachers can play a very significant role here by offering psychological support to students who really need it. At the same time, parents should have equal concern on mental well-being of the students along with concerns for their grades or marks.

LIVE LIFE, WHO’s approach to suicide prevention, recommends the following key effective interventions: limit access to the means of suicide (e.g., pesticides, firearms, certain medications); interact with the media for responsible reporting of suicide; foster socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; early identify, assess, manage and follow up anyone who is affected by suicidal behaviors.

Bangladesh government has taken different measures, including the drafting of the National Mental Health Act and online training for teachers to improve the mental health of students. It also plans to appoint a psychologist in every school. In 2023, the authorities included a chapter on mental health in the health protection book for classes VI and VII. In this world of state-of-the-art technology, life has become more comfortable and charming.

However, social attachment has become a casualty in the process. Listening and talking to others with a caring mind, and counselling can go a long way in preventing suicides and soothing suicidal tendencies. Even a family member, a friend, a colleague or a neighbor can play the role of a useful counsellor in thwarting many suicides. Concurrently, social support can go a long way in stopping people from taking this extreme decision.


The writer is a Professor,

Department of Public Administration, University of Chittagong.

Email: [email protected]