Let us act before it is too late


People resorting to taking their lives have not seen other means to deal with the internal trouble they faced. Number of suicides soared high in the month of November, but the reasons mostly not understood. It is to indicate that mental health of many Bhutanese resettled across the US is still ill-health. It should not have been the spontaneous “kick-the-bucket idea”.

While, that suicides reported in the media have raised hairs, the unreported suicides are not less horrific. Reasons and the causal factors are again not just the things to assume and speculate. They are not same for all ages. In the earlier phases of resettlement, culture shock could have prevailed the mindset of many older folks, but with the number of more youths falling victim to suicidal thought, it is anything else than culture shock.

It should be well acknowledged in the context of Bhutanese refugees that resettlement became a Hobson’s choice and pre-departure orientation does not include the core realities of living in US after getting resettled. More on the family side, the children have prompted the parents to fill up the forms for resettlement and it is for the future of these semi-educated younger camp generation that families with older parents and grandparents have relented to resettlement.

Suicides indeed increased in the camps at the onset of resettlement, when families debated and disputed the offer of resettlement by UNHCR. Some even have taken their lives when a son or daughter left for third country resettlement filing as single case.

Interestingly, the tragedy of increasing suicides is a concern in Bhutan too. A smart TV host, Namgay Zam has posted in her facebook about this situation. This is what she wrote;

We’ve had 33 youth suicides so far this year, which means at least two young people dying every month. It is a tragic statistic for a small country like Bhutan. I am told that most families of those youth who committed suicide had no idea that the young people were troubled. I want to ask you these questions now: why are you unhappy? What’s stressing you out? Do you feel like you have no one to talk to/ no one who understands you? Why do you feel like that? How could the situation be improved for you? If it’s too personal to share, please do email me: [email protected] *Also, I’d like to let you know that there is always SOMEONE who CARES…never forget that!!!”

 It is a concern shown by a journalist, a public figure in Bhutan who wants to prevent suicide happening alarmingly in the small Bhutanese society.

Bhutan News Service has also modified the way suicide reports are published and we have added a page to allow as many resourceful individuals and agencies to put their ideas and resources for public view. The campaign for preventing suicide has begun and a good network of doctors shall be formed to address the issue. BNS is in active consultation with ORR too, for helping the Bhutanese communities living in all states get help before it is too late.

 Media can help generate awareness with the help of partners who are professional and skilled in developing materials for the national campaign to prevent suicide. Let us begin the journey and we shall together help each other. Let us all share our success story leave no family in despair of having lost their loved ones.