Suicide case

During question hour today, I asked the minister for works and human settlement if and when wages for the National Workforce would be increased. This issue has already received considerable attention in the National Assembly.  Still, I went ahead, hoping to push the government to raise the wages of our workers. It didn’t work.

And during question hour today, I wanted to ask a second question, this one on an issue that we have not talked about at all in the National Assembly. I’d wanted point out the growing number of suicide cases in the country. And ask the minister of health if the government was responding to this terrible trend.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask this question, as the Hon’ble Speaker did not allow it.

I’m worried that the number of suicide cases in our country is unusually high. And I’m worried that it is increasing.

In one month alone, in January 2009, 15 suicide cases were reported around the country. In January and February this year, 13 cases were reported.

According to police records, there were 53 suicide cases in 2008 and 49 cases in 2009. This year, as of April, the police have already recorded 25 suicide cases.

By any measure, these numbers should give cause for concern. But considering our small population, and our emphasis on GNH, these figures should be alarming.

25 suicides in 4 months. That, extrapolated, is 75 cases 12 months. That works out to 11.9 suicides per 100,000 people. And that would place us at number 34, if we were included in the list of countries by suicide rate.

Something is gravely wrong. And we – all of us, not just the government – need to do something about it.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Yangchung says

    Its very saddening and disturbing to see many suicide cases in our supposedly GNH country. I hope the relevant agencies carry out some research on it, and address the issue seriously.
    Now we even see the teachers committing suicides, and this will psychologically affect the students. And the situation will get even worser than now. I won’t be surprised if teachers are resorting to taking away their lives due to pressure from the government such as warning them to be sacked out if not upgraded their basic qualifications. I guess most of them are now quite old, and may not be in position to upgrade, yet they obviously won’t want to get sacked and support the family farming.

  2. I could not agree more that this is something we should all be seriously concerned about. Every life lost is a potential contributing citizen lost, not to mention the losses we incur in the form of psychological and emotional trauma caused to those who are close or even knew them.
    A proactive public health and education policy that emphasizes preventive mental health would go a long way. We should invest more on preventive health, particularly education. Of course, there should also be more accessible primary mental health care services.
    Given the confusing times that we live in today where it’s hard to distinguish between the real and virtual, and own and others’ culture, it’s only likely that people, especially & unfortunately the younger ones will succumb to the wrong way out. We need to do something about reviving our once caring communities before they are lost forever. Our media and civil societies could play very important roles here.

  3. I beg to differ that OL asked the MoWHS minister to increase the wage of the national workforce. In fact, OL supported the question which was first raised by the Dagana MP, Dasho Hemant Gurung. He raised the issue way back during the 4th session last year. Just a clarification.

    • Dear Dorji: Yes, Dagana MP raised the issue last year. But, yesterday, during question hour, I asked the question. It really doesn’t matter who raises the question. The important thing is that important issues are raised, repeatedly if needed. Tshering

  4. One very “unique” characteristics with us, in the unique Bhutanese way, is we expect the government to do everything and anything. When there is no rain, we expect the government to compensate for the work we have “not” done in our fields. Suddenly we get rainfall and guess what, again we expect the government to grant us “kidu”.
    We have got to learn to fight our own battles, to take the vicissitudes of life in our stride,INSTEAD of expecting the government to spoon feed us everyday of our lives.

    Personally, I have no sympathy for people who take their own lives. They are cowards who have given up on life without the will to chart their own destiny. The less number of such people the better it is for the society.

    I don’t see what ANY government in the world could do.

  5. lINDA WANGMO says


    In short it could be because you have never been in such a situation or you have never faced. You will understand only if you are a farmer who depends upon the income from ones field and finally when your crops harvested you dont have enough to feed your family. You will understand If you are a student and when you have lot of pressure from your parents to study when only you know how much your brain could take. You will only understand if you are a teacher and when 100s of students depend upon you and when the students are finally done learning from you the same students terminate you for not having proper accounts of few thousand ngultrum. Finally you would only understand if you are a parent with just enough salary to feed your family and you badly are pressurized by your childrens to send them to collage.

    The present government is a failure and they keep killing the low income people by increasing the taxes, not raising the salary etc… well how would they understand because they have their own quota and My one message to them is that they would not rule Bhutan throughout their life. They would understand once their term is finished. The laws they made themselves would come back to them.

  6. Dear TT, I am also in a predicament, considering that this is an emotional topic to discuss. There is very little the Government can do at the face value. But let’s look at this case more objectively. 15 cases in 2010. 49 cases in 2009. Amazing numbers, but has any one studied the patterns of these suicidal cases? Perhaps we can gain some insights by also understanding the underpinning reasons behind these acts. And based on the results, efforts can be made to address issues at the macro or micro level.

    • Dearr Honda: I haven’t seen details about the suicide cases. But, the alarming part about the cases in 2010 is that they represent a wide cross section of society – men, women, students, farmers, out-of-school youth, officials. Tshering

  7. Practising GNH says

    I think many of us need to understand more about the economics rather than saying increase! increase! increase!. It is easier to increase pay but from where will the money come? How can the government provide free health and education? Fortunately no one has yet proposed that the government buy a money printing machine. Ha ha ha … what a joke!

  8. The whole government has no money has become a joke.
    the goverment has enough money when they wanted to increase gups incentives, the goverment had enough money when they wanted to give MPs all kinds of benefits( Salary increase, mobile vouchers, house rent allowance, vehicle fuel and maintainece allowance, driver allowance, discretionary allowance, lumpsum money to purchase cars, sitting fees during national assembly, etc.), the goverment had enough money to waste 20 million per year per MP on Unconstitutional voting buying grant, the goverment had enough money to offer vehicle quota to already rich civil servants, the government had enough money to propose state funding of political parties, I can go on and on..

    But all of a sudden the goverment does not enough money for people who survive on 3,000 ngultrum per month working day and night. Do you know how much labar wages can be paid with 20million that each MP gets per year. 6,667.

    So don’t tell us that the goverment does not have money.

  9. Dear OL,
    It is quite alarming to see the figures of suicidal cases.The government should look into these cases and be more practical. The Gross National Happiness has become a Mantra for all levels of people in Bhutan.However, if many people die for being not satisfied with their life in the land of GNH, is quite shameful.It is high time someone study the facts under the umbrella of Happiness.I am a Bhutanese and I love my country. But it is also a pity to have few greedy leaders on the top,who do not understand the need of the people. Unless a study is done and the government does something, I am sure the figures will increase in the years to come.

  10. just this once says

    Honourable OL, since you are worried about suicide, i must beg you of something. students studying in India as fellowship awardees after high school receive Rs.3600 as stipend and those of us are who are sent to private institution are skipping few meals as we cannot afford due to skyrocketing price rise. the PGs and landlord’s increased fooding charges.
    if you don’t ask something to Minister of Education, suicide may follow.

  11. Dear readers may I know what is the rate of suicide case if any one knows plez. I want overall percentage of it.

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