Counselling: “Teachers must be able to identify students who suffer depression as they deal with different children every day,” said Bumthang’s dzongkhag health officer (DHO) Kinga Gyeltshen while presenting the national suicide prevention action plan, (July 2015-July 2018) to the Ura Central School staff on June 1 in Ura.

He pointed out that depression was one of the factors leading to suicide. Suicide is one of the top six leading causes of death in the country.

Kinga Gyeltshen said that any child found with mental illness must be reported to the school counsellor. “The school counsellors alone can’t do everything and help of other teachers is crucial.”

Bright students suddenly under-performing is one of the signs of depression, added Kinga Gyeltshen.

He stressed that teachers must look for measures to overcome such problems with students. The case may be referred to other competent authorities if necessary.

He said that the action plan requires multi-sectoral intervention and with contribution from teachers, it is expected to address suicide cases in the country effectively.

Kinga Gyeltshen said that parents and teachers sometimes forget to brief children to refrain from indulging in sexual activities and safe sex. “We tend to blame them when they have committed the mistake.”

He added that Royal Bhutan Police has recorded 361 suicide deaths between 2009 and 2013. Breaking down the number further, he said it shows that six people committed suicide every month. “Most of the people who committed suicide were within the age range of 15 to 40 years.”

The team that consisted of Royal Bhutan police and RENEW officials also delivered a talk on domestic violence, substance abuse, alcoholism and related laws.

Nima Wangdi | Ura