Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

Most people, who took their own lives in Dagana, had a history of alcoholism, according to the records police and health officials maintained.

The dzongkhag reported seven suicide cases from 2019 to 2022, two cases in Kana and Tsangkha gewogs, one each from Tashiding, Gesarling, and Lhamoidzingkha gewogs.

Recently, a 26-year-old man from Samtse took his own life in Lhamoidzingkha after an argument with his wife.

Sources said that the father of a 21-month-old infant was under the influence of alcohol before heading out of the house that night.

The dzongkhag health officer, Dorji Wangchuk, said that the sector carried out intervention measures and also gives support to family members of the victim by sensitising local government (LG) leaders on how to help the family members through local practices of community support.

They also create awareness for LG leaders to identify vulnerable people and provide them with the right support.

Dorji Wangchuk said that the dzongkhag, in collaboration with the dratsang, also initiates discourses on mental health and the value of human lives. “We encourage schools to adopt policies for counselling and referral of children with mental illness and those who are vulnerable to suicide.”

He said that individuals at higher risk are referred to health facilities and the authorities concerned.  “While advocating on suicide prevention, we work with community gatekeepers such as traditional healers, local shamans, astrologers, and lams.”

However, sources said that the suicide cases in remote areas go unnoticed by the officials.

Sources said most of the cases were triggered by domestic problems caused by drinking habits. “Unless we address the drinking problems among our people, such issues will continue to rise.”

Another official source said that there were daily cases of people with drinking problems, seeking rehabilitation at Dagapela hospital.