KATHMANDU, Oct 9: Case No. 1 A teenage girl from Basbari in Kathmandu, who worked as a radio jockey, tried to commit suicide by swallowing several pills at once. She was fed up with life after she learnt that her boyfriend had another girlfriend also.
“This is her third suicide attempt; first, she cut her wrist, secondly, she tried to hang herself, and in the third attempt she has swallowed pills,” said Dr Deep Malla, consultant psychiatrist at Norvic Hospital.
He said the girl is intelligent, studious and verbally fluent and likes to go to discos and parties. When she learnt that she was being betrayed by her boyfriend she could not take it any more.
Case No. 2
A few months ago, a 14-year-old boy jumped into a well. Neighbors pull him out and rushed him to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH). Luckily the boy survived but had to be hospitalized for two months. Doctors at the hospital say that was his third suicide attempt also. During counseling, he told doctors that his father is an alcoholic and does not earn any money while his mother has extramarital affairs, and friends and neighbors gossip about her. That makes him feel depressed. The 10th grader´s performance at school has also deteriorated.
Case No. 3
Dr Malla said a teenage girl from Dharan was brought to him in a critical condition. She had tried to commit suicide by shashing her wrist. Malla said she was being sexually abused by her step-father. Her own father had abandoned her and her mother when she was little and her mother had married a second time. Instead getting the care she needed, she only got physical and mental torture from her step-father. She told her mother that she was being sexually exploited by the step-father but her mother refused to believe her. So she tried to kill herself.
Doctors say that psychological problems in society have increased rapidly in recent years.
According to government data, 25 children committed suicide last fiscal year. Out of 26 who attempted suicide, only one survived. The prevalence of such attempts among adolescents and youths is alarming.
“This is an era of fast foods and people want things instantly without doing any work for them. When such magic does not happen, they become depressed,” Dr Malla said.
People are becoming more materialistic, Dr Malla said, adding that they do not have time to spend with family.
Children as well as the old are suffering from emotional trauma. Parents´ expectations of their children are high. And the children cannot ignore that. “Everyone cannot come out first in examinations, and parents express their dissatisfaction in one way or another. Not all children can bear such stress,” he added.
Due to prevalent unemployment in the country, hundreds of thousands of people are going abroad for work. But not everyone gets a descent job abroad. Some cannot adjust to the adverse environment and return home with psychological disorders. Dr Malla said some who return from abroad with mental disorders come to the hospital directly from the airport. Among such patients the number of women is large.
Doctors say that in recent years the numbers of married patients who have been parted from their spouses are significant. “Husbands parted from their wives for pursuing foreign employment suffer from mental illness and fail to perform well in their jobs, whiole women thus separated from their husbands also suffer psychologically,” he added.
Psychologist Dr Mita Rana at TUTH said that two-thirds of patients who visit her in hospital are women. “These days more women hold jobs and are also expected to do the household work; thus overburdened, they develop adjustment problems,” she said.
She said job dissatisfaction is another cause of mental distress. People cannot get the salary they wish and start to wonder why they should work if their basic requirements cannot be fulfilled.
Dr Rana said one in every 10 people will suffer depression during their lifetime and one in every 10 cases of depression is fatal.
Dr Malla said that if a person is always sad, does not want to talk, does not want to eat, and cannot sleep, she/he should consult a doctor. One should consult a health professional if one has mood disorders, headaches without any obvious reason, always feels tired or weak, and has no interest in anything. He said that if all interest fades away slowly and one gradually starts to think that life is futile, it is a case of depression. Such people attempt suicide. In moderate levels of depression people used to write suicide notes, but most of the time they also tore them up or hid them.
Dr Rana said people should talk more about their problems with family and friends.