GANGTOK, Sept 25 � Sikkim has earned the dubious distinction of being the State with the highest suicide rate in the country, State Health Minister DN Takarpa said adding that the State Government is looking towards spiritual leaders to stem the tide.
�We are very much concerned over the issue and the government is actively considering roping in spiritual leaders of various religions to help people in stress management�, said Takarpa.
The State Health Minister was responding to a fresh report published by a leading national daily on Sikkim having the highest suicide rate in the country. The report was attributed to a Chennai-based regional representative of World Health Organisation.
According to the report, Sikkim has dislodged the usual top ranker Kerala as the State with the highest suicide rate in the country with a rate of 48.2 per lakh population. Puducherry was ranked second with a rate of 46.9 per lakh.
While admitting that suicide rate in Sikkim has risen to around 48 per lakh population, the State Health Minister expressed his inability at the moment to ascertain the rank of the State in the country. However, he asserted that the State Government is very much concerned over the issue and taking a number of steps to prevent suicides.
Takarpa described the affluence and an easy way of life among the people facilitated by a rapid development in the State has also made the people vulnerable to mental stress.
It may be added here that even the State Health department had admitted that Sikkim had the highest rate of suicide for the years 2008 and 2009. As per the Sikkim CID police data presented by the State Health department, 124, 287 and 241 persons committed suicide in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively in Sikkim.
The suicide rates in Sikkim had pole-vaulted from 18.88 per one lakh persons in 2007 to 43.16 per one lakh persons in 2008 before dropping down to 35.28 in 2009.
At the moment, the Health officials here are stumped as to the actual reasons why people are committing suicide almost every second day in the State and have admitted that a study independent to the police data needs to be conducted to trace out the factors responsible for suicides in Sikkim.