| by Melani Manel Perera
Asia News

After the war, the loss of social cohesion, economic deprivation and the lack of government rehabilitation policies have prevented people from recovering from their trauma.

( August 20, 2014, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the Jaffna Peninsula, suicides have increased since the end of the Civil War, this according to Daya Somasundaram, professor of Psychiatry at the University, who carried out research with the local population. The sense of being abandoned by the authorities and the consequent economic and social precariousness are among the causes.

According to his study, the suicide rate in 2005 (when the war entered its final phase) stood at 23 per 100,000 people out of a total population of more than 500,000.

As the war intensified, numbers fell to less than 20 (2006), reaching the 15 cases in 2009, the last year of the war. However, in subsequent years, the number of people who took their own lives began to rise, exceeding 25 cases per year.

During the conflict, "it was easier to handle frustrations," Somasundaram said, "because there was a strong social support among the victims against various forms of stress and trauma."

"With family break-ups, social cohesion began to waver. Economic hardships, which continue because of the lack of government policies rehabilitation, caused further friction. This has made people incapable of handling difficult situations."

According to the scholar, to stop the phenomenon the government should "increase social capital, by restoring preexisting family and social ties. That war was a collective trauma; hence, rehabilitation must also be collective."