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Break the ice


There is a dire need to have a positive and an easy channel of communication between parents and their children in Kashmir. It is understandable that everyone is going through a crisis these days considering the extraordinary times that the pandemic brought into our lives. However, as suggested by experts and seen on the ground, the pandemic is not just a health emergency. It has done far more damage. These days we are witnessing an increasing number of suicides and majority of these cases involve teenagers and young adults. Kashmir was already struggling with the menace of drug addiction and now these frequent attempts by youth to end their lives is quite alarming. While experts and researchers must already be trying to delve deep into this disappointing turn of events, as members of this society, we too must try to do something about it. To being with, we must develop a hassle-free channel of communication with our children and young adults. We have to show empathy and understanding towards whatever issues and concerns they may share. We need to break the ice and delve into their world if we really want to find some solution to this otherwise grave problem. The back to back lockdowns in Kashmir have had an enormous impact on the way we deal with our problems. We are living through a depleted economy with lakhs barely managing their day to day expenses. Financial stress, unemployment, emotional strain, change in family ties, domestic abuse, et al ­– all of these existing issues have been aggravated during the last few years. And experts say that this cocktail of negativity has really harmed the mental health of the people of Kashmir. Infact, they say that the situation can be termed as a risk factor for suicide. As for the data, an RTI by Srinagar-based law student, Badrul Duja in February this year revealed that from the year 2010 to 2020, Kashmir witnessed 3024 cases of suicide. The data showed that from the year 2010 to 2020, Kashmir witnessed 3024 cases of suicide—with the pandemic year of 2020 leading the decade with 457 suicides. Medical and psychiatric experts believe that the main cause of suicide deaths and suicide attempts is constant financial stress in the families and least physical movement and advise the people to be more interactive with the near and dear ones to overpower the mental stress increased due to Covid and financial distress. Again, interaction is the key here. Parents, peers, and leaders in a social group need to break the ice. The channels of communication must be free-flowing. With empathy, understanding, and a will to listen, we can reach to the depth of the issue, resolve it and ensure that the grave issues at hand are resolved in a timely manner.