More than 100 suicides in first 7 months of 2020 in Kurdistan:human rights board

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – More than 100 people committed suicide in the Kurdistan Region in the first seven months of this year, according to a human rights board. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. 

"From January to July 2020, 103 people committed suicide,” said Ziya Petros, head of the Kurdistan Region's Independent Board of Human Rights. By province, 39 people committed suicide in Erbil, 40 in Sulaimani, 15 in Duhok, and one in Halabja. In addition, four people killed themselves in the Garmyian administration and four in the Raparin administration. 

Worldwide, "close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds," according to the World Health Organization.

World Suicide Prevention Day, organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), is a day to raise awareness about suicides worldwide. 

A sociologist working at the Family Consultancy Center in Sulaimani says many suicides in the Kurdistan Region can be attributed to psychological disorders and depression.

"According to our estimates, 35 to 75 percent of suicides come from mental illness," Saman Siwaily previously told Rudaw English. "Sometimes, families take the psychological state of their children for granted and never ask them why they are depressed."

"Many of those who commit suicide have previously warned of suicide, but society does not listen to them, nor do they take them to see doctors," Siwaily explained.

Contributing factors for depression-induced suicide include "staggering unemployment, romantic issues, forced marriage of women, bankruptcy among businessmen, the revelation of scandals and other social related issues," he added.

Related: Kurdish woman founds suicide awareness NGO after losing teenage son

Activists and health care workers have raised alarm about suicides among the Yezidi minority.  Many Yezidis suffered psychological trauma when the Islamic State (ISIS) group attacked their Shingal homeland in 2018. ISIS killed more than 1,200 Yezidis in the first few days of the genocide and kidnapped more than 6,000 Yezidis, who were enslaved and brutally abused, sometimes for years.