chapter  2
Of villages, courts and clinics
Pages 28

This chapter explores the local ontological grounds upon which differing representations of suicide come into being through a range of social practices. It provides that the highest rates of suicide and self-harm were found in Sinhala Buddhist and Catholics communities, and, reflecting their overall presence in the area more generally. The chapter moves from the village to the coroners' court: a journey that is also undertaken by Udagama and Alutwatta people who die by suicide, and the witnesses who are called to testify. Files on suicide held by the Madampe Police Station (MPS) and on self-harm admissions by the Galmuruwa Peripheral Health Unit (GPHU) provide a simple picture of suicide epidemiology in the area. Suicide remains a leading cause of death, and self-harm remains a leading cause of injury, in both peri-urban and urban communities in the south and west of Sri Lanka.