HMC dissects rising cases of suicide

May 13, 2011 - 1:10:21 am


DOHA: With a presumed rise in the number of suicide cases being reported in Qatar, especially among low-income expatriate workers, the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has launched a comprehensive study of the phenomenon.

The study, the first of its kind in the country, is being undertaken by the Psychiatry Department at HMC. It is described to be the first serious attempt to address this sensitive issue in the society.

“Several cases of suicides have been reported in the country but there is a lack of analytical data on such incidents. Our study will cover all segments of the adult population in Qatar, both nationals and expatriates. We have already started work on the project,” Dr Suhaila Al Ghuloum, chairperson of the Psychiatry Department told The Peninsula yesterday.

She said, besides collecting statistics, the study would look into the social and psychological factors that lead to suicides. The age and nationality of people who committed suicide in the country as well as their social, financial and educational status will be analysed so as to reach the

right conclusion.

It is also important to look into the history of the person and whether he or she had made any suicide attempts before actually succeeding in the act, said Al Ghuloum. Asked if suicidal tendency among expatriate workers was on the rise, she said, it was too early to say that.

“We need to study more and analyse to confirm such assumptions. The cases seem to be on the rise but the population in the country is also increasing rapidly. The multi-national and multi-cultural character of the expatriate population in Qatar should be taken into consideration in such a study,” she said.

The Psychiatry Department had earlier reported a rapid rise in psychological disorders among low-income Asian workers, mainly cases of depression and stress. However, no clear data is available on incidents of suicide among this large segment of the expatriate population.

The official said the findings of the study would immensely help in raising public awareness about suicides and taking preventive measures.

She said the Department had come across several youngsters and adolescents suffering from behavioural problems that can lead to suicides.

However, suicidal tendency among adults and adolescents should be studied separately because of the divergent nature of the two segments of the population.

“Many suicides take place because the family or the society fails to notice such behavioural disorders in the right time. So it is extremely important to raise awareness on this issue,” said Al Ghuloom. Failure in examinations and excesive pressure from parents in education-related issues are found to be among the major factors behind suicide attempts among adolescents, she added.

The Peninsula