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Citing statistics from the Polonnaruwa General Hospital and the Divisional Hospital in Bakamoona amongst others, the Mental Health Focus Point of the District explained that out of the 17,627 patients who had obtained treatment from mental health clinics in State hospitals within the District during 2016 for various mental illnesses (10,948 persons had obtained treatment from the General Hospital while 1,512 had obtained treatment from the Divisional Hospital), the majority of the members of the communities suffered from depression as the result of mental stress and tension, and the majority, approximately 40% to 43% had attempted suicide. In the case of Bakamoona, 53% had attempted suicide and 31% were suffering from depression. According to the relevant authorities, the number of cases of attempted suicides exceeded the number of patients with depression. However, in the majority of the cases of the attempted suicides, the case histories revealed a history of suffering from depression. In the case of attempted suicides, there are also those who have done so due to acting impulsively based on sudden rage. The number of deaths resulting from attempted suicides has however declined owing to the lowered strength of agrochemicals which are drunk by those attempting suicide as poison, enhanced hospital facilities and those who have attempted suicide being rushed to hospitals quickly by those who find such persons. Medical Officer of the Focus Point, Dr. Lakshman Senaratne said that the same situation is found across the board including in the periphery, in places like Hingurakgoda, Medirigiriya, Welikanda, Aralaganwila and Pulasthigama. He added that the patients were between the ages of 20 and 59, the majority of whom were females, who suffered from such and had attempted suicide due to poverty, domestic violence and alcohol and drug use and abuse among spouses. “In hospitals in the periphery, the facilities and the doctors to conduct the clinics are less. We face challenges due to the lack of human resources and manpower. There are persons who do not know that they have depression. If the latter group was also included, the number of those who are depressed would officially be more. Lack of awareness, low education levels, negligence, stigma, the latter which leads to persons with depression not accessing clinics or doing so only secretively, attitudinal issues and resorting to native treatments like holding devil dancing ceremonies are some of the reasons which aggravate this situation,” Dr. Senaratne noted.