Saudi Arabia, is suicide on the rise?

This article is from Arab news:

An Arab woman in her 20s has attempted to end her life by slitting her wrist, but was saved in the last moment after she was rushed to Al-Noor Specialist Hospital in Makkah.

According to the woman, she tried to end her life because her mother and brothers constantly abused her. The woman related that they verbally abused her, accusing her of being indecent and unethical.

She said her family later started to physically abuse her.

A social worker in the hospital asked the Social Protection Home in Makkah to accommodate the woman until her case is studied and solved.

This is not a single case. It seems the rate for suicide amongst your people is rising in the Kingdom. Over the last weeks three other suicides have been reported in the kingdom. Three girls, all students, all well-to-do and without apparent motive took their lives in Abha, in Bisha and in Taif.

The rising number of suicides among young people, adolescents and particularly unmarried women in the Saudi Sunni high-society worries the authorities and has alarmed the local media. These alarm bells of a social problem can no longer be ignored. Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister, quoted by Gedda Arab News, said that the number of suicides almost doubled over the past decade in the kingdom, from 400 cases in 1999 to 787 in 2010.

Considering the fact that in an ultra-conservative Islamic community suicide is still taboo, an act of shame that should be hidden inside the family walls, the numbers are probably higher.

Based on a three-year survey carried out by the Saudi Committee for family protection, 80% of a total of 156 suicide attempts was made by girls. The causes were ”domestic violence, partiality of parents towards their sons, forced weddings (which are rare however in the higher classes”, explains the commission’s chairman Samira Mashhor to newspaper Al-Watan.)

A woman doctor at a hospital in Riyadh recently told Reuters that she treats around 11 cases per months of girls who tried to commit suicide. Many of them take sleeping pills or barbiturates, almost as if they don’t really want to take their lives but cry out for help. The doctor explains that it is the symptom of a widespread suffering due to the situation of women in a strict Muslim country. ”Women become desperate when they see and realize that their right to choose and their own free will is denied”, the doctor, whose name is not mentioned, adds.

In her opinion, Saudi girls ”have no communication channels with their parents and rarely find support for their emotional and social problems. Unfortunately”, she concludes, ”listening to an adolescent and sympathizing with her does not seem to be one of our society’s skills”. (ANSAmed).

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7 Responses

  1. That is just so very sad 😦

  2. I think the main reasons people become suicidal is because they feel they don’t have control of their lives, they are trying to gain attention and want to know someone cares about them and accepts them for who they are, and/or they experience extreme bitter disappointment over what they see as an important life event. So to be honest, as sad as it is, I can easily see how this might be the case. 😦

    @Lynn,
    Agreed. 😦

  3. @StrangeOne

    Given I have a bit of experience on the subject of suicide, I have to say sometimes you’re right and all the person wants is a little attention, though those are usually the ones who fail, or aren’t really 100% committed to ending it all. Lack of control plays a big part as well – much bigger than attention-grabbing IMO. Or feeling there’s nothing worthwhile for them here – a glorified boredom, if you will. For both of these they feel like there isn’t anything they can do to change things, and they have no hope. Suicide can also stem from a complete lack of self-esteem, feeling one is not “good” for anything, that the world doesn’t really need them and is be better off without them. But there’s also the suicidal person who doesn’t really want to die and likes him/herself as they are, but just gets so weighted down by life, so exhausted from always dealing with negatives and never positives, that they simply feel like they can no longer deal with it. They can see no other escape from a life that has boxed them in and then beat them bloody. I think this one might be a more common cause, as it overlaps with the others as well.

    Any of these could be contributors to rising suicide rates in KSA. I feel it’s important to know why these girls (and guys, too) are feeling more and more like there is no other out if they want to prevent it from becoming an even bigger problem. I’m glad society’s finally seeing that there is a grave situation here, but it’s too bad this had to happen in order for them to notice. Maybe now they’ll start working on the issues causing this – but then, this IS Saudi we’re talking about 😦

    I pray those who’ve succeeded are in a happier place, and that those who have not will finally get the help they need, though frankly, I have my doubts.

  4. AzurEyes,
    I agree with the points you brought up, especially about someone getting “weighted down by life”. To this, I’d like to add that it can also be caused by seeing no point to life. As in, there is no reason to live, yet not really any reason to die, necessarily, either.

    I also hope that those who’ve succeeded are in a happier place. I think sometimes it’s difficult for loved ones to notice ahead of time because its symptoms may be confused for other things or simply just seen as depression.

  5. StrangeOne –
    That is one of the points I was trying to describe, but you did it a little better so thank you 🙂

    In my experience, the families of those who attempt suicide rarely notice anything until either it’s too late or the person comes forward themselves. At that point, far too many (I can only judge Americans at this point) still jump on the kid, asking how he/she could do this to them, the family member. It’s never about the person having issues, but it should be. Globally I think people are more concerned with their own feelings of guilt or inadequacy, or with saving face.

    I’m not sure if they still are, but for a while suicide numbers of young people in France were rising as well, largely based on the education system and the pressures placed on them. I can’t imagine how these poor girls must feel in KSA which seems so much worse.

  6. I just think this is very sad 😦 😦 😦 😦

  7. Good Day and Happy Mamma Day Everyone!!!

    Suicide has no “face,” no race, no age or income level that indicates who is at risk. Often, experts say, it’s a stressful or negative event that drives a person already struggling with depression to harm himself—including bad breakups, financial problems, or loss of a job or home. Such events can be a “very high-risk time”. So the optimal way to intervene is to encourage a depressed person to get treatment early on. But because depression can bring a feeling of hopelessness, those affected sometimes don’t believe that getting proper treatment will make them feel better. If people with depression get help, say the experts, “they can regain their health and live a full, healthy life.”

    Interestingly, I read an article online in the April issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, titled “Some of the Happiest Places Have the Highest Suicide Rates”. Basically, it states that if you’re down in the dumps, stay away from the happy states.

    Researchers who analyzed how people’s sense of well-being varies from place to place compared their findings to suicide rates. And found that those living in the happiest states may be more likely to kill themselves.

    Four of the states that rank in the top 10 for well-being also rank in the top 10 for suicide rate: Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and Colorado. Utah, for example, tops the life satisfaction list, but also grapples with the 9th-highest suicide rate. And while New York ranks a low 45th in well-being, its suicide rate is an even-lower 50th, according to the report. That could be because people surrounded by others who are unhappy don’t feel so bad for themselves, the researchers speculate.

    Living around people who are satisfied with their lives, on the other hand, can make you feel even more miserable. “If you’re unhappy there, you conclude, ‘something must be really wrong with me,’ or ‘nothing will make me happy,’ so you’re more likely to get depressed and take your life,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the researchers for the study.

    In general, from what I have read and heard about saudi and muslim societies, is that they view suicide as deeply sad but not quite shameful. It’s better to have someone in the family who committed suicide than a daughter who elopes or a son addicted to drugs. People will gossip for about a month after the funeral and then everything will be shrouded in secrecy and never talked about as if the person who died never was born in the first place.

    On death certificates in muslim societies, you rarely have suicide written on them. The family pressures the hospital and doctors and bribes police investi-gators to persuade them towards “what’s the point in an insensitive truth”.

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