Mental illnesses are usually overlooked by society and not considered ‘real’ illnesses as one can’t physically see the pain a person is enduring. Ironically, the same problems brushed off by society remain the biggest reasons for suicide.
Rushaan Farrukh, a young girl studying Visual Arts at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore reportedly committed suicide by jumping off the 4th floor of her university, on November 27th. Her parents have refused to take legal action and no official report has been released by the police.
Sources say that while she was about to perform this petrifying action, no one took her seriously. People were passing comments such as “attention seeker” or believing that it was just a stunt. Little did they know that it might have been a cry for help.
The reasons behind her suicide has not been ascertained yet, however, some may say that Rukshaan’s social media posts might have been alarming or even a cry for help – one that wasn’t heard. She had also been posting statuses on the importance of kindness and how one needs to eliminate negativity from their life by avoiding talking bad about another person unnecessarily.
Just a few months back, Anam Tanoli committed suicide at her home in Lahore, just at the age of 26. Now another case has been brought forward but still, we, as a society don’t understand how crucial it is to not only be kind towards people but realise the importance of mental health.
One can’t fathom the agony Rushaan had been enduring which pushed her to an extent where she had the courage to jump off from such a high floor, one from where she knew the chances of her surviving would’ve been minimal. Rushaan felt such an immense amount of despair that she felt dying would’ve been the only way to escape her sorrow. Her hopelessness to be happy overshadowed all the positive aspects of her life, and for that, we as a society need to apologise to Rushaan, as we all failed her.
In recent years, incidences of suicide appear to have increased in Pakistan. Evidence reveals that most cases involve young people under the age of 30. Being an Islamic country, many suicides go unreported as there are apparent strong religious sanctions against suicide. People start labelling the death of the victim as “haram” and question the morals of the deceased without realising the sensitivity of the topic. An analysis of reports by the forensics have shown that in the past two years, more than 300 deaths by suicide in Pakistan have occurred in 35 different cities. Men outnumber women by 2:1.
Mental health is a topic which openly needs to be discussed. Instead of hushing someone who dares to speak regarding it, indulge in the conversation. Eradicate the typical Pakistani mentality of labelling it as a stigma. It is not a stigma. It is something which affects thousands of people every single day, yet the only day we mention it is when we lose a person to suicide. And then again, we forget about it. A soft hearted, shy or unconfident child is bashed with hate for being too weak. A blunt or bold child is bashed for being ill mannered. We have confused our kids to an extent where they know they won’t be able to please everyone. They act out and get rebellious. Children who actually speak up about their deteriorating mental health are shunned by society and labelled as “pagal”. Once our older generations start understanding what the youth of today is going through, we might begin to turn this world into a better place.