Suicide: A Silent Crisis

by Meher Afroz Palashi

Is suicide a wise decision of a depressive life when there is no joy in life? No, suicide can never be a wise decision or solution. Nowadays, suicide rate is increasing day by day. According to ‘International Association for Suicide Prevention’ (IASP), about 703,000 people die due to suicide in every year. According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 2191 people commit suicide every day around the world and the rate of suicide is 16 out of 1 lakh. According to WHO, Bangladesh is placed 10th position around the world for suicidal tendency.

Suicide cases were also reported in some universities in the last few years. During the pandemic, increased social, financial, and family pressures have been the major factors of student’s suicides. At the end of January 2022, Aachol Foundation published its report on suicide, at least 101 university students allegedly committed suicide in 2021. The students were from 59 universities and Dhaka university topped in the list with at least nine cases of suicide.

The rate of male suicidal fact is much greater than female. A total of 65 male students committed suicide, accounting for 64.36% of the total victims. In the case of female students, however the figure was 35.64%. About 10 crore people suffer from psychiatric disorder of suicide according to WHO’s data.

In Bangladeshi law, attempt to commit suicide is a crime. Though there is no special law on suicide, there are some legal provisions where suicide is discussed. According to section 309 of the Penal Code 1860, an attempt to commit suicide is an offence. On the other hand, abatement of suicide is also a punishable offence under section 306 of this Code with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years and fine. Moreover, section 9 of the Nari O Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain 2000 mentioned about abatement in committing suicide of women. The abetting person will be punished by court for 5 years and not more than ten years with fine. Different countries like Pakistan, France, Australia recognize suicide as a crime. But attempting suicide is no more a crime in India as per the new Mental Healthcare Act 2017. Nowadays university students’ suicide rate is increasing alarmingly. Though suicides are preventable, but prevention mechanism does not work properly.  Because there are various structural constraints in our family, society and government.

Now a days, we often see that suicide’s note or videos are shown in our social media which influence the mental health of our people and indirectly instigate for committing suicide. Multiple cases are found around the world where a person committed suicide after posting their intention to do that on social media. This increasing tendency of committing suicide after posting on social media or live-streamed suicide on social media poses new challenges for public health and safety. In this regard, the Facebook authority should update their automated programs that can find such kind of fact and stop or ban the telecast.

To prevent suicide in educational institutions, authority should take necessary steps. They should maintain at least one counseling centre for monitoring mental vulnerabilities of students. Classmates need to be empathetic towards each other.

When a person feels anxiety, he/she takes the worst decision like suicidal attempt. Society is also responsible for this reason. According to French sociologist Durkheim, who propounded the Anomie theory, suicide is a social fact. In the book ‘Suicide’, Durkheim hypothesized that as an expression of suffering, societies and groups experience an increase in suicide rates. The society has also ‘label out’ nature. Scholar Thomas Scheff imposed liabilities on society for mental illness. To remove this problem, social awareness and social respect should be increased. Class cluster should be removed for decreasing suicide rate.

The role of police is also a question after committing suicide. Most of the time, we can see that, when a suicide is committed, police come and collect information. After collecting information, they sent them to the higher authority and sit idly. They should also take necessary steps for preventing it. Finally, it can be said that if the people fail to adopt the changes due to technological, economic and political downfall, they will engage themselves in various kind of crimes like suicide. Productive engagement of youth energy is vital for development. So family, society as well as government should come forward to remove the curse of suicide and take proper steps to make awareness.

Meher Afroz Palashi, is a student of LLB program at Department of Law and Human Rights, University of Asia Pacific.

UMSAILS UAP Spring School- 2022

Selected students from different law schools in Bangladesh, India and Bhutan participated in this program The South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights