Social issues, substance abuse, and depression are some of the causes for Samtse residents taking their own lives, according to health officials.

Samtse recorded seven suicide cases in the last eight and a half months along with 10 cases of attempted suicide. Last year, it recorded 17 suicide cases.

A 12-year-old student was the youngest while the oldest was a 64-year-old man.

Health officials say that challenge remains for those who attempted to claim their lives and failed.

Samtse’s dzongkhag health officer (DHO) Gunjaraj Gurung said those who attempted suicide but failed are most vulnerable and if they do not receive proper counselling, they are likely to attempt again. “Those people should not be ignored but watched.”

A RENEW volunteer, Dechen Chezin, in Samtse said that advocating on social issues is a top priority.  “There are various reasons for suicides, such as the domestic violence and alcohol.”

The DHO said they conduct advocacy programs.

It was learnt that since last year people started misusing weedicide. Officials say that two people who committed suicide last year, misused chemicals that are used to exterminate overgrown grasses.

Sources also say that from the seven who attempted suicide and failed this year, three-misused weedicide.

Meanwhile, Tendruk gewog has recorded the highest number of suicide cases. From 2016 until now, the gewog has seen nine suicide cases with two recorded this year.

Tendruk gup Nima Dukpa said this trend is worrying. “People these days are more engrossed in materialistic goals and it could have contributed to decreased communication among the family members.”

He said that technology such as the cell phones could be a contributing factor, including alcohol.

The gup said that he sensitises people in every meeting and stresses on the importance of families and good relations.

The international suicide prevention day was observed in Tendruk in September 10.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse