Gilgit-Baltistan’s legislative assembly has taken notice of the increasing frequency of suicide incidents in the region, and has passed a resolution to investigate the reasons behind this. In the past week, the deaths of six younger people have been chalked off to suicides, but it is still unclear whether the province is facing a problem of mental health issues, or just an issue with categorising the deaths as they take place.

If these deaths are actually suicides – hopefully this theory will be proved or refuted with increased investigation as a result of the resolution – Gilgit-Baltistan has issues of mental health, particularly among its youth population. Providing mental healthcare facilities and effective youth outreach programmes to counter this is important, but ensuring the financial security of young people is also important if the government is looking to establish a generation that steers clear of self-harm. Unemployment is one of the major causes for suicides across the world, which is why providing jobs and economic opportunities is fundamental.

However, there many cases in the provinces that have been categorised as suicides but were later found to be murders. Inept investigation, a lack of access to proper investigative tools and strategies for the law enforcement agencies, sometimes coupled with indifference is bound to lead to glaring mistakes such as this. For there to be an accurate assessment of the number of people that actually took their lives, improving investigative techniques and categorising deaths accurately is very important.

It is positive that the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly has taken notice of this problem before it gets any worse. Losing the youth to suicides is regrettable in the extreme, and is indicative of society’s failure to allow for young people to properly integrate within. With a literacy rate that is above many other areas of the country, losing 290 young people to suicide since 2000 is devastating, because the country is losing valuable members of society. The government must get to the bottom of this at once.