Casualties of war: Kashmiri women suffer most from mental health issues

Feb 1, 2012-Srinagar, Khurram Rasool

With the state of conflict still fresh in the backdrop of their minds and increase in the cases of domestic violence, females in Kashmir are reportedly said to be more prone to suicides than ever before.

A study conducted by a prominent sociologist at the University of Kashmir, Dr. B A Dabla reveals that in Kashmir while the female suicide rates are increasing immensely, it is men who have more suicidal tendencies in the rest of India.

“Contrary to Kashmir, in the rest of the country, men are found to be more suicidal especially in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (UP) where maximum number of farmer suicides has taken place”, Dr. Dabla told The Kashmir Monitor.

As per Dr. Dabla, the conflict situation has given rise to such social tendencies among females which directly or indirectly leads them to suicide. “As compared to the other societies elsewhere in India, female suicide cases have seen an alarming rise here in the valley. The main reason could be that females being more physically weak towards handling stress, fail to resolve the problem”, added Dr Dabla.

Interestingly, Dr. Dabla reveals that literate and educated people being very sensitive are more prone to committing suicides. Twenty eight year old Shazia Majeed who put an end to her life on November 9 last year by hanging herself from a ceiling fan was educated and employed at the Islamic University of Science and Technology as a librarian. This illustrates Dabla’s statement.

Shazia’s family still believes their daughter’s death to be a pure case of domestic violence. Experts claim that Domestic violence and family disputes play a vital role in making the females take the extreme step.

Moreover, two age groups among females between 17-35 and 35-50 are said to have more suicidal tendencies than others. Feroz Ahmed Malla, a counsellor at an NGO that works for mental healthcare, Kashmir Lifeline said, “Owing to the day today stress and personal life crisis, more youngsters are seen committing suicides and females have surely outnumbered the males”.

As per reports, the two premier hospitals of the valley Sher-i- Kashmir institute of medical sciences (SKIMS) and Shri maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital registered 1029 cases of attempt to suicide in the previous year.