Understanding the Social Stigma Surrounding Mental Health and Suicides in District Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan
Keywords:stigma and suicide, mental health stigma, love affair stigma, failure in education
The mechanism of society to adopt discredit, disgrace, condemn, and disown any individual for an undesirable status is termed as a stigma. Stigma significantly impacts individuals through various stages like social isolation, self-hatred, guilt, shame hopelessness, and burden on others, leading to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. In Ghizer, the prevailing stigma of suicide, mental illness, love affair, and failure contributes to the soaring suicide problem and is a barrier to suicide prevention. The present study is aimed to analyze the process of stigmatization, the nature of various social stigmas, their contribution toward suicide, and their hindrance in suicide prevention. A qualitative research approach was used with particular reference to case-based sample selection in convenient sampling; for selecting respondents (family members and community members), suicide cases were collected from police and hospital reports. An in-depth interview tool was administered for data collection. Data were analyzed through thematic analysis through themes extracted through literature, then described in narrative form. The study concluded that self-stigma combines loss in academic life, stigmatization of love affairs, and mental illness, which forces individuals into self-vulnerability and then suicide ideation. A culturally appropriate study is suggested to channel the social institution(s) for saving the lives of community members and strengthening their mental health.