Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Suicide: More commonplace in Syria under Assad

Prior to 2011, suicide incidents were not a common occurrence in Syrian society except for the rare occasion when it resulted from a psychological or nervous disorder that left the injured person believing that there was no other way of resolving a tragic situation that had occurred in his or her life. What made the phenomenon of suicide a rare occurrence in Syria years ago is the spiritual and doctrinal values that characterize the behavior of people in a conservative society. Suicide is considered to be the taking of a life which is forbidden in the monotheistic religions that existed in Syria.

Syria was given the penultimate rank: no. 162 out of 163 on the Global Peace Index which measures a country’s negative level of peacefulness

Despite this former prohibition, we see that the phenomenon of suicide has risen considerably as western reports indicate that Syria was given the penultimate rank: no. 162 out of 163 on the Global Peace Index which measures a country’s negative level of peacefulness.

Mental health experts have cited the effects of no peace on public health such as civil unrest, and political, social, and economic insecurity that leads to hardships that some people consider to be insurmountable as contributing to an increase in suicide rates. 

In fact, the phenomenon of suicide in Syria is considered a new phenomenon in the society, which was produced by the repercussions of the bloody clash that the totalitarian regime adopted as its means for confronting the masses who went out with peaceful demonstrations demanding institutional reforms.

“there is now a whole generation of young people in Syria who see an unknown future ahead of them, so they are not able to marry or build a family, nor are they able to travel to experience living a decent life”

Basil Namera

Basil Namera, a community psychological counseling specialist now living in Istanbul, told Syriawise that “the economic conditions and the deterioration of the living conditions of a large segment of those who remain in Syria are the main reason for the suicide cases, as the head of the family is no longer able to secure the basic needs of his family members as job opportunities are few and unemployment has reached an all-time high in Syria even as the cost of living is rising at an insane rate.”

Namera went on to say that in addition to all that “there is now a whole generation of young people in Syria who see an unknown future ahead of them, so they are not able to marry or build a family, nor are they able to travel to experience living a decent life. Everything about their future seems vague.” All of these factors can lead a young man to feel as if he is living in a black vortex and ultimately choose suicide as a convenient way out of a hopeless situation, Namera concluded.

there is a whole generation of Syrian children who have grown up witnessing wanton violence and bloodshed, the destruction of their neighborhoods and homes, and the deaths of family members and friends

To make matters worse, there is a whole generation of Syrian children who have grown up witnessing wanton violence and bloodshed, the destruction of their neighborhoods and homes, and the deaths of family members and friends, mainly at the hands of their government which should be protecting them. This has led to a number of adolescents and young adults who are now suffering from serious psychological trauma compounded by the distress of their current moral and material situations, including poverty, homelessness, and harsh life in camps that lack basic human rights.

after the difficult events and the harsh life that the Syrian people have been subjected to for the past 12 years, the news of suicide has become more commonplace among Syrians

The issue of suicide was not one of the topics previously raised in Syrian society, but after the difficult events and the harsh life that the Syrian people have been subjected to for the past 12 years, the news of suicide has become more commonplace among Syrians. Death has come to be viewed as a form of relief, deliverance, or salvation from injustice. Justification for suicide has become common for people with severe psychological trauma. Mood disorders, depression, and mania abound, as well as cases of addiction to hallucinogens and drugs which are among the most prominent motives for suicide.

In light of the deteriorating economic situation in the country, psychiatric treatment in clinics has become very expensive. A single visit to the clinic costs between 40-50 thousand Syrian liras, and effective medications are rare, and even if they exist, are prohibitively expensive

the deteriorating economic and living situation in Syria is one of the main reasons that created psychological and social problems that led to the growth of the phenomenon of suicide within the Syrian society

Rola Salama

According to the General Authority for Forensic Medicine in Syria, the number of cases of suicide during the year 2021 was 196. The latest statistics we could find for this article were 93 cases of suicide recorded in the first half of 2022. Out of the 93 cases, 68 were male and 25 were female. The most common form of suicide used was hanging, and the majority of the deaths occurred in Aleppo and the suburbs of Damascus.

Rola Salama, a social researcher, told Syriawise that “the deteriorating economic and living situation in Syria is one of the main reasons that created psychological and social problems that led to the growth of the phenomenon of suicide within the Syrian society in recent years. Unfortunately, no accurate statistics for the current situation are even available.”

A relative of a young woman who attempted suicide in Idlib told Syriawise: “My 28-year-old cousin took an overdose of anti-inflammatory medication after her many attempts to immigrate to Europe failed and all of her money was lost. Her lack of hope led to her decision to end her life. Fortunately, her brother saw her collapse and took her to a hospital.”

every suicide, or attempted suicide, leaves behind a “scorched earth in the immediate vicinity” of the person concerned

The daily living conditions of the Syrian family and the inability to secure the minimum requirements of daily life in light of the lack of job opportunities, the absence of job security, and the fear of an unknown future, have all contributed to the escalation of suicide in Syria. But every suicide, or attempted suicide, leaves behind a “scorched earth in the immediate vicinity” of the person concerned and has a profound effect on a large number of people for a very long time.

(This article deals with a sensitive subject. If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts there are trained professionals available for help and support. Visit Befrienders International for more information about support services.)

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