Elderly man commits suicide on World Suicide Prevention Day

Correspondent IMPHAL, SEP 10 | Publish Date: 9/10/2020 1:13:13 PM IST

A man who was in the news in 2018 for reuniting with his family 40 years after he went missing, committed suicide on Thursday, coinciding with the 18th World Suicide Prevention Day.

66-year-old Khomdram Gambhir Singh from Manipur’s Imphal West district went missing 40 years ago reunited with his family after a YouTube video of him singing a Hindi song in Mumbai went viral on social media.

Back in 1978, 26 year-old Gambhir left his Imphal home for reasons unknown and later went missing. The family was unaware of Singh’s whereabouts for 40 long years until their nephew, Romen Leichombam, showed them a video of a grey-haired and bearded man singing old songs in April, 2018.

Two years after he reunited with his family, Gambir was found hanging under a suspension bridge on Maklang River in Imphal West district early today morning. 

Morning joggers found the man hanging by a rope under a bridge at Chairel Khong village around 3.30 am on Thursday, police said.  His family members are said to be unaware of what could have caused Gambhir to end his life. Meanwhile, Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) Manipur branch, National Mental Health Programme of State Health Society and Indian Medical Association (IMA), Manipur state jointly observed the day under this year’s theme, “Working together to prevent suicide”.

IPS state branch president Dr S Manikanta who spoke on the occasion cautioned of a likely rise in the suicides during and after COVID-19 pandemic in the state too, adding that the pandemic has forced people to adapt to and aggravated deteriorating mental health conditions.

He observed that the lockdown has affected the mental health of people in India including Manipur and triggered a mental health crisis due to job loss, fear of contagion, social isolation, etc.

The pandemic has caused panic attacks, anxiety and depression and put more people at risk for suicide, he added. 

Suicidal behaviour is likely to persist for a long time as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health globally, said Dr Manikanta revealing that 80% of the global suicide cases were due to depression. He stressed on the need for an aggressive mass awareness to prevent suicide in the state.


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