The combination of war traumas and poverty are leading causes of the increasing number of suicides
In the last 18 years in Kosovo, there have been around 1,000 suicides, whereas the number of those who attempted suicide is 3,430.
There is an average of 64 suicides and 230 suicide attempts yearly in Kosovo.
Apart from the lack of statistics from the country’s earlier years. However, based on the statistics of 1999, it is believed that the number of suicides after 1999 has increased enormously.
But these numbers may not be a real reflection, because of the traditional mentality in Kosovar society which often results in not reporting suicides.
Based on age groups, the most suicides were committed by people aged 21-50, according to the Information Office of the Kosovo Police. The age group of individuals who attempted suicide was 21-30 years-old.
In the last two years, Prizren has become the city with the highest number of suicides, whereas there are fewer cases in Prishtina.
Regarding the increasing number of suicides from 1999-2016, Blerina Hoxha-Gjuraj, a psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Clinic of Kosovo, says that we should take into consideration the traumas citizens experienced during war.
“The traumas have an impact, especially when they were followed by financial problems or unemployment.”
Kosovo citizens also think that economic conditions can be one of the main reasons a person decides to commit suicide.
“One can commit suicide just to escape from poverty, unemployment and psychological pressure,” says Abdullah Gashi, a citizen of Prishtina.
Hoxha-Gjuraj says that the factors or causes for suicide are a complex phenomenon.
“It is not only one factor but they are interrelated to one another. These can be genetic, social, and economic factors or psychological disorders of the suicidal person, depression or even not being able to solve the problem. We should pay a lot attention to depression,” she says.
There are patients who think of suicide and even have concrete plans for it. For each decrease in mood or any other major problem, according to her, it is necessary to visit a psychologist.
“We do not deal with statistics at the clinic, but I can say that all the ages are touched by this phenomenon and there isn`t any basic difference in it. We have done studies about the manner of committing suicide by men and women. Women use more pills or corrosive products, whereas men hang themselves or use guns,” she says.
Hoxha-Gjuraj also thinks that when these cases are given more publicity in media, it impacts negatively on those who have an intent to commit suicide.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention, located in Washington, USA and the World Medical Association (WMA), mark the International Day for Suicide prevention every year on September 10. But there has not been any such organization in Kosovo until now.
The aim of this day throughout the world is raising awareness relating to the implementation of the actions which impact the prevention of suicides globally, since according to the event organizers, suicide can be prevented.
According to the criminal code of Kosovo, the act of suicide is not a criminal act, meanwhile “pushing someone to do so” and “helping someone to do it” are considered criminal acts.
“The police consider such cases as ‘suspicious death,’ specifically ‘death investigation.’ Only after finishing the investigation, based on the findings of the investigation, do we decide whether it was a suicide or not,” answered Kosovo Police`s Media Office.
According to the WMA, the phenomenon of suicides has increased 60% worldwide during the last 45 years. Suicide is one of the three main causes of death for the age group 15-44.
WMA says that around one million people die every year by committing suicide. A suicide is recorded every 40 seconds.