Alarm bells ringing as 60 cops commit suicide, 160 die of heart attacks in five years
Sixty cops have committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh in the last five years (till November), while 160 have died of heart attacks during the same period. Senior officials say that the figures are disturbing in itself, but what is more alarming is that the they have no clue about the state of mental or physical health of the 1.20 lakh strong force in the state.bhopal Updated: Nov 28, 2017 18:35 IST
Sixty cops have committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh in the last five years (till November), while 160 have died of heart attacks during the same period. Senior officials say that the figures are disturbing in itself, but what is more alarming is that the they have no clue about the state of mental or physical health of the 1.20 lakh strong force in the state.
According to NRCB 2015 figures the rate of suicide is 10.6 per lakh in the country.
Admits ADG (welfare) SM Afzal, “These deaths are disturbing, because the state invests a lot on each personnel and they have a steady source of income, unlike most Indians. We are all aware that policemen are under a lot of stress due to long duty hours, life away from families, problems in getting leave, bossism, etc, but we had no mechanism to red flag the warning signs.”
Last month a constable posted in a battalion in Datia shot himself with his service rifle. But later it was found out that he was mentally unwell and every time he returned from leave, his wife and children used to drop him at his battalion fearing that he would not rejoin his duty, and twice he had tried to stop trains with red flags.
“Such erratic behavior should have been spotted earlier. Perhaps such deaths are preventable,” says ADG Afzal.
Rattled by the figures that were first shared at a meeting of top police officials on November 2 in Bhopal, the mandarins have come up with a slew of measures aimed at stopping these unnecessary deaths.
For starters, all policemen will compulsorily have annual health check-up, which is now restricted to gazetted officers only. “This will let us know the kind of medication the cops are taking and act accordingly,” says ADG Afzal.
To create a proper data bank on suicides, the district SPs\commandants have been asked to investigate all suicides that have taken place in their area and come up with the exact cause of death. At present, most investigation of suicides are cursory, with one liners summing up the cause of death.
There are also plans to set up counseling centres at each range office where those who need counseling will be treated. The counselors will also meet the families to make them aware of his condition and how they have to help him.
Commenting of the proposed measures, consultant psychiatrist at Bansal Hospital Dr Satyakant Trivedi said. “Any step that goes on to access the mental health of the policemen, like signs of depression which leads to consuming liquor etc, is welcome. Also though counseling the cops should be taught to maintain balance between professional and personal life and a conducive atmosphere should be created for this purpose.”