‘Golden’ state Sikkim has a sordid underbelly to it – it is the suicide capital of the country.
To tackle the problem, the state government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru.
The Chamling government wants to adopt a holistic approach to tackle the “suicide issue” in the state.
The memorandum has been signed by the health care, human services and family welfare department (HCHSFWD) on behalf of the state government.
The Sikkim Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) Project for suicide prevention has been launched at Chintan Bhawan in Gangtok.
During the launch event, the state chief secretary, AK Srivastava, stressed that everybody should work in tandem so that cases of suicide can be brought down and very soon Sikkim gets rid of the tag – ‘suicide capital of India’.
He said that mostly teenagers committed suicide in the state (the most productive age group) which is a matter of “great concern”.
The bureaucrat hoped that experts from NIMHANS would help the state get rid of the “scourge of suicide”.
Srivastava stressed that schools in Sikkim should introduce subjects like ‘Moral Science’ in their syllabus.
“Counselling sessions should also be started right at the school level for students. Parents should spend more and more quality time with their wards,” he stressed.
The top bureaucrat said that the best cure for suicide scourge lies in “Act, Care and Treat approach and helplines should be active 24×7 to come to the aid of the people having suicidal tendency”.
Bureaucrat Vishal Chauhan informed that NIMHANS will carry out a comprehensive study on suicide in Sikkim for one year and will collect related data on suicide and its causes.
He further shared that NIMHANS will submit its findings and recommendations after a year and, accordingly, the department will take a “holistic approach towards solving the suicide issue in the state”.
“It is not a departmental programme but it is a governmental programme and later it would become a public programme and every individual in the society would be made a stakeholder to get rid of the suicide scourge,” Chauhan stated.
NIMHANS director BN Gangadhar said that there were a couple of reasons for which people committed suicide and NIMHANS will put its best “foot forward” to rid Sikkim of “suicide scourge”.