Connect with us


SL’s suicide rate down to 3,000 in 2019 from 8,000 — the highest in the world in 1995



By Steve A. Morrell

Sri Lanka’s suicide rate dipped to 3,000 in 2019 from an alarming 8,000 per annum in 1995, which was considered the highest in the world at the time, says Dr. Pushpa Ranasinghe, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

It was salutary that suicides in the country saw a gradual decline over the years since then (1995) to settle at 3,000 in 2019. Studies show that suicides are now prevalent more among older people than younger persons, she told a recent discussion initiated by Airtel on mental health in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Ranasinghe said the widespread use of mobile phones and texting for help were instrumental in reducing suicides among young persons. However, this was not of note among older people, both men and women.

Sri Lanka now occupies the 31st position in terms of recorded suicides, she said, adding that the prevalence of suicides among older people is extremely disappointing.

World-wide, the recorded number of suicides was around 800,000 annually, which meant there was a suicide case every 40 seconds, she elaborated.

The primary reason for the increase of suicides among older people was that families usually have no time for the elderly. Loneliness, family isolation, relegated to a corner of the house and not being spoken to, were all symptoms that lead to many such people taking their own lives, Dr. Ranasinghe further said.

Alcohol was also a contributory factor for suicides among older persons, who do not access or take recourse to counseling, thereby leading to despair, she noted.

Strangulation and hanging were the common methods among this group of people to take their own lives. Unlike the elderly, young people were aware of the alarming consequences and are more prone to seek counseling, which Dr. Ranasinghe said, was available on a 24-hour basis.

The NIMH and Sri Lanka Sumithrayo have trained personnel to handle counseling around the clock. The NIMH receives 12,000 calls per year seeking help and advise in any developing circumstance. Positive responses to those seeking advise helped to reduce suicides, she added.

Managing Director, Airtel, Asish Chandra, who addressed participants via an online video call, said 3,000 to 5,000 lives are lost each year due to suicides. It was gratifying to note that more people are now seeking counseling, which is available online as well. Counseling is handled by trained personnel involving doctors and nurses.

It also emerged at the panel discussion that incest among the estate population was also a cause for suicides.

Dr. Ranasinghe said the voice based hotline 1926 could also be used to seek counseling and advice.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

Continue Reading


Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

Continue Reading


SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents



Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

Continue Reading