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Thoughts of suicide? You are not alone and there is help
By Chidi Emmanuel
According to Shakespeare, "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face." It is really hard to imagine what led an associate, coworker, friend, family member or celebrity to commit suicide. Sometimes we may not have clear warning signs, leading us to wonder what clues we might have missed in order to save their life.
Suicide can be triggered by a multitude of factors, including poverty, financial hardship, huge debts, mental health conditions, drug abuse, upsetting events like war, or trouble in personal relationships. Other factors include sadness or grief, shame, worthlessness, intense guilt, rage, the feeling of being a burden to others and that life is not worth living. A lot of things can contribute to a person feeling this way. But there is hope for those contemplating this terrible idea.
"Suicide is typically carried out by someone who has experienced depression, mental illness or other psychological disorders. A lot of people are passing through tough times, but my advice to them is 'DON'T DO IT'. Everyone in life has their ups and downs. But there are better days ahead," advised Dr Ahmad Ali, Assistant Professor at Kuwait University.
"Apart from the main causes, there are other emotional problems that can make someone become suicidal. These include the loss of a loved one, bullying, discrimination or abuse, the end of a relationship, a major change in life circumstances such as divorce, unemployment, retirement or homelessness, receiving a diagnosis of a life-changing illness, problems with money, being in prison, pregnancy or pregnancy loss, certain cultural practices such as forced marriage, etc," explained Innocent Ona, a sociologist who works in Arifjan.
"In some cases, some of these people are often left feeling rejected and dejected. They become hopeless and seek a way out. They may also feel isolated from their friends and family because of their condition. This can lead to them becoming suicidal. Although there isn't really any typical pattern of behavior for someone who is suicidal, there are common warning signs. These include having strong feelings of guilt and shame, social withdrawal and isolation, talking about dying and feeling empty and hopeless," Ona pointed out.
Rose, an African resident, narrated how her friend killed himself after being deported from Kuwait. "I was very sad when I heard he took his life. He once called me for help, but I told him to wait until I got my salary. A few weeks later, I was told he had committed suicide by jumping into a river. I wish I had sent him some money. Maybe I would have saved his life. He was a good friend," she said.
Sitting at the edge of the bench in Kuwait City, Daniel narrated his ordeal. "Only God saved me. I thought of committing suicide many times. The pressure and frustration were too much for me. My sponsor disappeared with my passport after the lockdown. Since then, I have no visa, no work and no money. But I thank God for these church members. They have been very helpful. At least I have hope - and things are getting better now," he said, complaining about life in Kuwait under the sponsorship system.
Suicide is illegal in Kuwait. However, during the pandemic several attempts were reported. The government has recently enhanced security on Jaber Causeway (one of the world's longest bridges) after an increase in suicide attempts on the bridge.
Last month alone, two expatriates - an Egyptian and an Indian - attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge, but were rescued. A few months ago, a 21-year-old Australian woman, a schoolteacher, killed herself by jumping off the causeway. There have been several other unsuccessful suicide attempts from the bridge in the past. In July, security operatives stopped a woman from jumping from the causeway in an apparent suicide attempt. The measures ordered by the interior ministry to prevent further suicide attempts include round-the-clock security patrols on the bridge.
The bridge incidents followed a string of reported suicides across Kuwait. "In many cases, suicides can be prevented. There is a need to focus on the risk factors and warning signs, which include depression, change in personality, self-harm, recent life crisis and conversations about wanting to die. If a family member or friend talks about suicide, take them seriously. Offer to help if you can, lend them a listening ear - without judging them, and encourage them to seek professional help," Ona advised.
If you are feeling suicidal or have serious thoughts of depression and self harm, you can reach out to professionals at the Social Development office:
For teens and adults:
+965/9960-337 (children and teens)
For adults only:
Phones are answered at various hours depending on staff availability.