Depression and frustration have led to suicidal tendencies among youth and adolescents, according to a survey by the Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrists.
The survey conducted between October 2018 and June 2019 found that 4.7% of adolescents and young population had suicidal thought and 1.5% had suicidal plans and attempted suicide at least once.
At an information-dissemination programme at the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital on Saturday, the association of psychiatrists presented the findings of the survey on 1,744 adolescents and youths aged between 10 and 24 years.
Speakers claimed it was the first population-based nationwide study exploring suicidal behavior in Bangladesh.
Females had more serious suicidal thoughts than their male (2,6% vs 6.6%) counterparts. Also, suicide related thoughts were more prevalent among urban people than those leaving in rural areas (8.2% vs 3.7%).
The mean age of first attempted suicide was 17 years. Nearly half of the household members surveyed had a history of suicidal behavior.
Helal Uddin Ahmed, associate professor of the hospital, said suicide was one of the leading causes of death among adolescents and youths. Timely intervention can prevent the unexpected deaths, he said.
Prof. Bidhan Ranjan Roy Podder, director of the hospital, said India sees the highest suicidal tendency in South Asia. In Bangladesh suicide cases are rising too, especially against the backdrop of the pandemic.
"We should discuss more about suicide because we can prevent it," said Brig. Gen. (Rtd.) Md. Azizul Islam, vice-president of the Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrists.
Mental health is often ignored in the country, he said, while insisting on raising awareness to save the lives of vulnerable people.
Prof Mohammad Robed Amin, of the directorate general of health services, said suicide is an outcome of a disease and a public health issue.
"When a pandemic sweeps across a country, the suicide rate goes up, which is why it has risen amid Covid-19. The solution lies with awareness building. We want our policy to be updated."
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, suicide cases rose 17.36% in the first year of the pandemic, compared to the previous year. Some private organisations, however, estimate the figure at as much as 45%.
Earlier, Aanchal Foundation in a report said more than 14,000 people committed suicide between 8 March last year and 28 February this year, and a majority of them were aged between 20 and 35 years.