Anxiety over COVID-19 leads to Phagwara woman’s suicide

Didn’t want her family to get it, says daughter

Anxiety over COVID-19 leads to Phagwara woman’s suicide

Photo for representation.

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, April 6

Santosh Kaur, a 65-year-old woman, resident of the Khurrampur village in Phagwara, committed suicide over the fear of the coronavirus.

The woman committed suicide late on Saturday night after consuming some tablets.

Being in depression, her case underlines the impact of COVID-19 on people with underlying mental health issues.

Living alone in her house at Khurrampur village, she committed suicide citing fear that she would infect her daughters coming to see her the next morning.

Health department had said since she had no COVID symptoms or history – her fear was an illusion.

Baljit Kaur, the woman’s daughter who lives in Jalandhar, said, “Kalle television dekh dekh ke ohnan de dimaag de vich baith gay ki menu ho gayi hai. (She became convinced by watching TV alone that she had COVID-19). She had no problem – neither cold, nor cough, nor fever. My father died last year. But she was fine after that. However, for past 4-5 days she started feeling that she got coronavirus. Four of us sisters were going to get her tested the next day. But she got scared we would get it too. That’s what caused her act. She did it to protect us.”

Sarpanch of the village, Manjit Singh, said, “Oh baar baar ikko gal khendi si – menu corona ho gaya. Vehem pai gaya si. (She repeatedly kept saying she has got corona. She had got this illusion.)”

Manjit said, “Seeing her health and that she was scared, we informed her children. But she was scared they would be infected too. I met her at 8 pm on Saturday. She was fine then, said her fever had healed but had irritation in her throat. However, in the morning we got to know she had committed suicide. In her suicide note she said she was dying of her own free will and her children not be blamed for her death.”

Civil Surgeon Kapurthala, Dr Jasmeet Bawa said, “The woman wasn’t a COVID-19 case. She was suffering from anxiety over coronavirus. We had been intimated by the sarpanch that she had anxiety and was suffering from depression. The rapid response team of the health department visited her only on Saturday afternoon and had counseled her. Later we go to know she died.”  

The woman has four daughters – none of whom were staying with her. Her daughters—all married—were settled in Phagwara, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur.

While her family came to the village after receiving information about her death – her body was cremated at the village last evening.

Villagers said her husband had also died last year – after which she had been suffering from depression.

SHO Sadar police station Phagwara Amarjit Singh said, “The woman had a fever and a cough. The health teams repeatedly went to her to pacify her and she was also without symptoms of COVID-19. A check up was conducted on Saturday afternoon which was normal. However, she had a fear that she had COVID, due to which she committed suicide.”  

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