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Idlib, Syria – Muhammad Anjouqi spent most of his 16 years Syria’s devastating war.
Living in the largely opposition-controlled Idlib province in the country’s northwest, he survived the direct effects of the war. air raidbarrel bombs, snipers.
But the war had another effect, and Muhammad’s family found life difficult.
His father had his leg amputated as a result of injuries sustained during the civil war, and the family was forced to flee their home in the town of Marat Alnuman after an attack by government forces in 2019. settled in the camp. border between Syria and Turkey.
Muhammad dropped out of school and started looking for work to help them.
“Muhammad had to take responsibility for providing for his entire family,” his father Salim explained to Al Jazeera. “He had nine siblings of his, seven of whom were girls and he was the eldest of boys. He dropped out of school and worked full-time, which he was not accustomed to.
“When we left Marat al-Numan, we had no idea where we were going. The first night we slept in the open in the rain…We fled from regime forces and moved around. I did,” he added. Experienced by the whole family.
Salim said his son will tell people around him that the situation will improve and his family will be able to return to Maarat Al-Numan.
At the same time, however, Muhammad was in debt trying to help his family, which was slowly taking its toll on him.
“His behavior changed and he began to sit alone away from his family and seemed under pressure,” Salim said. “I would find him sitting outside alone after midnight.”
Muhammad took his own life in his tent shortly after the Eid holidays in April.
Suicides are on the rise in the region, from 22 in 2021 to at least 32 in the first six months of 2022, according to the Response Coordination Group, a Syrian NGO operating in northwestern Syria. doing.
Ahmed Abdul Hai, a psychotherapist working in Idlib, told Al Jazeera that the trauma experienced by many Syrians may be the reason for the rising number of suicides.
“People in northern Syria face the following situation. displacementThey have lost their homes, lived in camps, lost their privacy and are unable to adapt to unemployment, poverty and hardships,” Abdul Hay said. “It makes people lose hope and fear the future, and it looks like things are going from bad to worse.”
About 90% of Syrians live below the poverty line, and many Syrian breadwinners are unable to support their families, according to the United Nations.
Abdul Hayyi says the lack of support systems to deal with these problems is one of the main reasons suicides are on the rise.
“In most documented cases, warnings were given before suicides were committed, but threats were not taken seriously and vulnerable people were instead met with reprimands and indifference from their families. did,” he said.
Most of the suicides carried out are by young people, many of whom have lost hope after living most of their lives during the war.
“Young Syrians see people on the internet and in movies who live a completely different life than they do,” said local researcher Abdullah Darwish. “This often leads them to feel lonely and harbor negative thoughts about an unknown future.”
Darwish also believes an improving economic environment will help ease growth trends.
“We need more job opportunities, especially for young people, so that they can go from being consumers to being producers, even for small projects,” Darwish said. “This makes them more positive about life.”
Although the majority of documented suicide cases have been men, Abdul Hai explained that this may not actually be true.
“This is a conservative society where mental illness is still considered stigmatized and where psychiatric visits are avoided, let alone suicide,” Abdul Hay said. “I think the number of women who committed suicide is higher, but relatives don’t talk about it publicly and say the deaths were due to other causes.”
We should be more aware that suicidal thoughts are on the rise,” Abdul Hay added. “Mental illness should be seen as a disease that should be treated by medical professionals, not hidden away or considered shameful.”
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/17/suicides-on-the-rise-in-opposition-held-areas-of-syria ‘No hope’: Suicides rise in Syrian opposition-held areas | Mental Health News