Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Suicides on the Rise

Barbod Kaveh, Rooz Online:
According to statistics provided by the Management and Planning Organization of Iran the number of suicides in Iran is rising by the year. The ministry of health says that there are 13 suicides a day and the average age of the victims is 29 years. The statistics also indicate that there are 3 times as many men as women who attempt suicide. The provinces with the highest suicide figures are Ilam, Bushehr, Kahkilooieh and Boyeer-Ahmad, Khuzestan, Fars and Kerman. These are the provinces generally considered the poorest in the country. The statistics also show that for every suicide, there are between 8 to 25 attempted and failed suicides. Interestingly, the number of women attempting suicide is 3 times that of men. Exactly the opposite of the number of successful suicides. READ MORE

The youth comprise the largest group of people who commit suicide. According to a report by the National Youth Organization (Sazemane Melli Javanan), the mental health of half the youth under 29 years of age in Iran is disturbing, while 40.2 percent of all youth suffered from some mental problem.

According to Dr Moinfar, an analyst on social issues, the young people who commit suicide mostly have noteworthy potentials and capabilities, but because those around them do not grasp their talents and abilities, these young people loose hope and attempt suicide.

In recent years, suicide has become common even among students, especially those who are far from their homes and live in dorms. Dr Moinfar, the exemplary research in 2003, says, “Some of the university managers lack long-term managerial experience and so their lack of understanding youth and their issues, promotes and exacerbates the problems students face. Whenever a student threatens to commit suicide, they think he is simply making excuses for something. Of every 100 suicide threats, between 2 and 4 actually do it.

Suicides among women too have become more common. According to an aide for the governor of Ilam province – the province with the highest number of suicides – with a population of 580,000 inhabitants, there are about 400 suicides annually in Ilam of which 220 are women. Most women chose the method of setting themselves on fire to commit suicide. This is method of choice for women in Iran. Sociologist Dr Shahla Amadeh believes that the cause of suicides is the male dominated society women live in. “The traditional family structure among Iranians, especially among the families in nomadic and ethnic groups in provinces such as Ilam, and Kahkilooieh and Boyeer-Ahmad which are built on the culture of male domination are the causes of this type of suicides, i.e. setting oneself on fire. In this culture, young women are sometimes forced into marriage, which is recognized as one reason for the suicides of women. Another reason for women’s suicides are the unfavorable social conditions for women and the unpleasant events such as rape or their mistreatment because of their feelings and passions. As an example, a movie film was distributed around the country two years ago which showed university girls partying in Tabriz. The film was distributed by opportunists around the country. Two of the women in the film were so scared of the loss of their family honor and the possible reaction by the father that they committed suicide.

The number of suicides is on the rise and with the deteriorating living standards among families and the cultural generation gap, along with the dominant traditional culture in the country; this social problem is expected to become even more acute. As things stand now, no day passes in Iran, without a mourning ceremony for a person who has committed suicide.