July 14 (Peshawar): In recent years, suicide has become a major public health problem in Pakistan. Despite this, there are no official statistics on suicide from Pakistan. Suicide deaths are not included in the national annual mortality statistics. National rates are neither known nor reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).
To provide crisis support, Blue Veins and Gender Response Advocacy Centre Ensuring Equality (GRACEE) have joined hands to voluntarily launch Crisis Support & Suicide Prevention Helpline “Happy KP”. The helpline aims to provide confidential support over phone, email, video and chat and will organize team events, and one to one counselling. The helpline will also organize awareness events in the communities and in the educational institutions.
Ammara Iqbal, Chairperson of the GRACEE, said, “In recent years, incidences of suicides appear to have increased in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and suicide has become a major public health problem. From the available evidence, it appears that most suicides occur in young people (single men and married women) under the age of 30 years. Hanging, use of insecticides and firearms are the most common methods and interpersonal relationship problems and domestic issues as the most common reasons for suicide”
Sana Ahmad Senior Program officer Blue Veins said that to reduce the incidence of suicide community-based interventions would be initiated. These include crisis management, self-esteem enhancement, development of social skills and healthy decision-making”.
The helpline number “0337 9216207” will connect the beneficiaries with the councillors and mental health experts of GRACEE organization. The helpline will initially piolet its work in the central zone of KP including Peshawar, Mardan, Charssada, Nowshera and Swabi.
Qamar Naseem a Human Rights activists involved in the design of the initiative said “ the traditionally low rates of suicide and the protective influence of Islam appears to have undergone a radical change in Pakistan and suicide has become a major public health problem. There is a need for collaboration between government, non-governmental organisations and public and mental health professionals to take up this challenge”