Pakistan’s silent suicide problem

Jul 17, 2019 by

Families cover up what happened to their loved one. And taboo prevents all discussion.

Between 15 to 35 people end their lives in Pakistan every day.

That’s as high as one person every hour.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that in 2012, the rate of suicide in Pakistan was 7.5 per 100,000 people. In other words, around 13,000 people killed themselves that year.

In 2016, the estimate was 2.9 per 100,000 i.e. over 5,500 ended their lives. Experts say the number of people dying is likely somewhere between the two figures, but the truth remains hidden.

This project hopes to end the silence by giving those who have suffered space to share their stories; by providing expert commentary and by providing access to a few resources the country has to offer those seeking help.

Trigger warning: The content that follows contains stories of suicide and suicide attempts, which may trigger some readers. Please proceed with caution and contact your mental health advisor in case of a crisis.

Suicide survey

To better understand the trends and context surrounding suicide in Pakistan, Dawn.com published an online survey in December 2018, asking respondents to anonymously share their views and stories about suicide. The non-scientific survey was published on the website and shared on social media, reflecting views of a segment of Dawn.com’s readership, as captured in the respondent demographics outlined below.

The responses — 5,157 in total — provide a unique starting point to exploring the issue.

A few findings include:

  • 38% of respondents said they personally know someone who has taken their own life.
  • 43% said they personally know someone who has attempted suicide.
  • 45% said they have thought about suicide but never acted on it.
  • 9% said they have tried to end their lives.

1. Respondent demographics

A majority of those who took the survey are between 18-40 years old, male (72%), and from the three major cities.

contined: Pakistan’s silent suicide problem – Pakistan – DAWN.COM

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