08/17/2018, 16.12
BANGLADESH
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Tejgaon: suicides among young Christians up

by Sumon Corraya

The World Health Organisation estimates that about 11,000 Bangladeshis kill themselves each year. In the Christian community, ten young people committed suicide in 2018. The Church in Tejgaon organised a seminar to address the problem. For a Catholic doctor, parents should think more about their children than at work.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church in Tejgaon, Dhaka, organised a seminar to tackle the issue of suicide, a growing problem.

Participants spoke about people like Shuvosree Gomes, a university student. Officially engaged to be married, she hanged herself when she found out that her future husband was having an affair with another women.

Prodip Das’s story is different. After an argument with his younger brother, the 17-year-old took his own life when he was home alone. He left a note for his parents in which he says that they are "the best parents in the world" and told them not to feel guilty. Of course, this was to no avail; his relatives are now in utter despair.

Rodala Cruze, a 30-year-old homemaker, tried to take her life by ingesting a bathroom disinfectant because of marital problems but was saved because relatives took her to the hospital in time.

Shuvosree, Prodip and Rodala are not real names, but their stories are real. They highlight the problem of self-murder and the desperation that drives some people to do this.

Dr Edward Pallab Rozario, secretary general of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Bangladesh, spoke at the meeting.

"The lack of attention on the part of working parents, too much societal and school pressure and depression are the most common reasons young people are driven to commit suicide," Dr Rozario said.

Speaking to AsiaNews, he explained that "suicide has become a serious problem in our society. This year many young Christians decided to take their lives and we often hear from others who tried to do the same. It is a social disease. We have to work on it."

According to the latest estimates, at least ten young Christians took their lives so far this year, and many more tried to. World Health Organisation data indicate that 11,000 people kill themselves each year in the country, most of them under 30.

More than 100 people attended the Tejgaon meeting. Fr Kamal Corraya, parish priest at the local church, explains that "the goal of the meeting was to create greater awareness about suicide.”

“Among Christians, the rate is increasing. Both we and parents are worried about the situation. We discussed why more people choose to die and what we can do about it."

Looking at the factors that drive young people to commit suicide, "Frustration, social impoverishment, and family turmoil are among the main reasons," the clergyman explained, adding however that "Life is a gift from God. No one has the right to take it away".

For Fr Kamal, parishioners must pay more attention to their children and follow Christian values. "I tell them not to favour situations that could lead to suicide."

Dr Rozario agrees. In his view, "Those who go through moments of particular emotional and mental stress should be helped with medical treatment."

On the issue, Muslim psychologist Mohit Kamal noted that "If a person suffers deep depression, he is more likely to commit suicide. This is why I believe they need compassion, love and proper care. Families must support them and encourage them to follow the treatment."

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