22 July 2018
Suicides & Emigration
[Dr Jeyan Mendis, founder and former director of the National Mental Health Institute attributed the increasing suicide rates to stress arising from financial debts.
Children going abroad for studies and settling down overseas also contributes to the tragedy.
Dr. Mendis said that 20 years ago, or earlier, the elderly were looked after by their children. The baby boomers had up to five children and never worked. Also, the extended families lived in one household and the matriarch or the patriarch was respected.]
I met Dr Jeyan Mendis in 2009 during the process of obtaining my clearance to go to the war camps – to be with the needy. Dr Mendis was helpful but the clearance from his side was given only after I used my title – Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka in my letter to Dr Mendis as the President of the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists. The fact that I was highly recommended to serve the needy in the war camps by Professor Henry Sathananathan did not seem to be enough to clear me for the service. Despite having to wait for the officials in Health Ministry – and despite going there sans official portfolio, I kept going. When the seniors were not there I connected to the juniors. Then the miracle happened. My husband called to say that the Institute of Chartered Accountants had send me a letter inviting me to apply for Fellowship! By this time I had stopped paying my ordinary membership fee because I could not see any value from it as a professional. In real terms I am an eternal member of the Institute – by upholding that as my highest professional qualification – including in Court. I added the label F.C.A. next to my name and Dr Mendis gave me the letter as per his role in the chain of command.
My investment in Chartered Accountancy is Energy to me. My wisdom through my net contribution and participation invokes itself to support me whenever I am in need, in the form I need. The above was such an approval from Above – Blessings from the Lord of Accountancy.
That was possible only because I did not get tangible outcomes more than my net contributions – as registered genuinely by me – through my true logic. Costs mature as structures and raise themselves to Energy level at which level we make Soul – connections.
This week’s Tamil Diaspora messages included a discussion on Tamil Political Prisoners at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SYmsVjY3h8
Mr Jayaram Ramnath – a former Political prisoner complains that politicians including Mr Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister of Northern Province and national level Tamil leaders in Politics – Mr Sampanthan and Mr Sumanthiran also have not done anything of value for the Political prisoners. Mr Jayaram Ramnath was saying that he had ‘advised’ these leaders on what to do but that they had not done anything. This confirmed to me his lack of ownership in Politics as well as in Judiciary. Likewise Dr Mendis from whom I had to get approval to be with those with whom I sought o share pain. Dr Mendis put together a package – that would confirm his contribution. Likewise, Mr Jayaram Ramnath who was packaging his contribution and expected the Politicians to deliver. He did not submit. One with deeper ownership in the issue is the leader and the junior has to ‘submit’ to raise the total to the higher level. When we trade at the lower level – including for votes – we cause divisions. That is the rule of natural ownership.
Dr Mendis analyses in relation to high level of suicides in older Sri Lankans:
[But over the years, families have become smaller with only father, mother and a maximum of two children. Both parents work and most families have a single parent who has to be the breadwinner.
The state has failed to provide for the elderly, and families find it difficult to care for the elderly and the disabled.]
Majority parents who migrated to Australia also suffer due to their children sending them to nursing homes. Had they stayed on in Sri Lanka and had their children sent them money – those parents would have had the means to employ young ones in their environments to take care of them. It is the duty of children whose parents sold their assets to send them overseas – to ensure that the parents are facilitated to replace the children through young ones in their environments. Whether it is here in Australia or over there in Sri Lanka, most parents would be happier in their own home environments. That was my advice to a white Australian friend who had expectations as per her service to her mother. I said ‘live in the home you made’.
Home is any place where there is ‘ownership’.
Dr. Mendis continues to state:
[Hanging is painful, but the elderly resort to this mode because their intention to die is very strong. “They have been harbouring suicidal intentions for a long time and they plan it,’’ Dr Mendis said.]
When the mind of the parent is merged with the mind of the child – the child’s motivation to live would naturally balance the parent’s weakening opportunities for which to live.
Dr Mendis concludes:
[To counter this tragedy, the lives of the elderly should be made more worthwhile.
They should be made to feel important and useful and should not be allowed to feel that they are a burden to society. This can lead to depression.
Most of them are lonely, because the husband or wife is dead and the children have gone overseas to live. Some have no children and this can also lead to suicidal tendencies.
“People who have suicidal ideas should reach out for help,’’ he said.
There are around 105 psychiatrists in the country. They can be reached through several hospitals including general hospitals, teaching hospitals and base hospitals.
A depressed person is unable to see himself as a person who needs help. This is where the family can help.]
How many psychiatrists were in the camps during the 2009 crisis? Being in the camps means living as part of the refugee family. I did not see any solution from Dr Mendis in regards to the refugees in the camps and/or their captors. But I did notice the names of Dr Mendis and of Professor Daya Somsundaram of the University of Jaffna in the list of guest-speakers at a conference organized by the University of Melbourne in October 2010. The subject matter of the conference was presented as follows:
[More than a year after the brutal climax to three decades of civil war, and almost six years after the devastating tsunami, the population of Sri Lanka is facing a massive task of physical, economic and social reconstruction. The mental health consequences of these natural and human catastrophes, particularly for children, are widespread and profound. The country has the highest female suicide rate in the world. The limited capacity of the mental health system means that most mental disorder remains untreated. There is only one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people, with most working in large urban areas, very few other
mental health professionals, and limited facilities for mental health service provision]
To me, the above was lacking in ‘ownership’ of the problem and therefore the solution. It’s a packaged benefit taken at the primary level. Likewise, prisoners who claim to have fought for self-determination. The contributions to independence by those who died in the war – whichever side they were fighting from – becomes Energy from which we could draw during our times of need. In fact he Energy comes to us when we are in deep need. When we pool our own Energies to theirs – the pathways would open at the higher common level ‘in the form of our own areas of expertise’. Those who package their contributions at the primary level – are incapable of identifying with those avenues. Many in the Government as well as the Diaspora are trying to package because they lack ownership reserves. The moment there is emphasis on money contributions – the risk of such packaging is strong.