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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 14/05/2011

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(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Most suicide cases in the GCC and the Arab world as a whole, are reported during long holidays, particularly during the sizzling summer months, and the victims are women, says a prominent Qatari woman psychologist.

Women in the GCC, particularly, are a victim of gender bias and suffer social isolation. "Most of them are imprisoned in homes during the long summer break," says Dr Moza Al Malki (pictured).

Educated or not, most GCC women are forced to live under the authority of their brothers - even if they are younger.

This applies even to those women who are divorced and choose to return to their parental homes. "Their plight after divorce deepens rather than ends as they must live a life dictated by their brothers," laments Al Malki who holds a PhD from the UK.

During her stint as a teacher at Qatar University, Al Malki said she used to get phone calls from some of her female students during the summer, and they would invariably complain of loneliness and talk of ending their lives in desperation.

"I used to counsel them and persuade them to think positively and look ahead in life," she said in remarks to this newspaper.

According to her, a study was conducted in Qatar in 1992 on suicide cases involving girls. The study was conducted by the Ministry of Interior in coordination with the psychiatry departments of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

"But they failed to gather accurate figures and the study was abandoned," said Al Malki.

Ironically, there is no official recognition for suicide in Qatar and deaths due to suicide are referred to as 'sudden death' or 'stroke'," she claimed.

Children in the region tend to end their lives due to depression. Some imitate western movies like 'Superman' and die.

Students largely suffer from study-related stress and they are under huge pressure, especially during exams. Their major worry is what would happen if they fail and how they would be able to face their near and dear ones after their debacle in exams.

Recently, a child tried to kill himself after his father died. The child, after watching a movie, thought that by killing himself he would be able to meet his father in line with the movie's message, said Al Malki.

Suicide among adolescents is a problem and it must be studied at length to get at the root of the malaise so combative efforts can be launched, she suggests.


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