Suicide is a global phenomenon. There is no modern society where it does not exist. In Kuwait, it is illegal and those who attempt it and fail can face prosecution – on top of all the problems that led them down that path in the first place.
Often suicide is viewed as an expat issue and in fact, recent statistics do show that the majority of people who commit suicide in Kuwait are foreigners. But suicide is an issue that affects us all and it can strike in any family, in any community and have devastating consequences.
That is why Kuwait needs to bring suicide prevention efforts into the 21st century with a dedicated suicide prevention hotline and more efforts to provide awareness training for doctors and nurses as well as police regarding this phenomena.
Expatriates, especially low income earners, are often targets for predatory business practices including loan sharks, illicit recruitment agencies and pyramid scams. Despite the fact that loan sharks are illegal in Kuwait, they are rampant and taking loans in this manner is easily available here. Another way low income workers can get into financial straits is with pyramid schemes or lotteries or group investing which often results in loss of life savings or other financial troubles.
Though there are no statistics available, its thought that many, if not the majority of suicides among expatriates are triggered by financial difficulties. While there are charities here that aim to help the indigent, its not always possible or open to the most vulnerable populations.
Suicide prevent efforts can be designed specifically to target those most in need, utilizing different languages to reach the different communities in Kuwait.
Although there is no dedicated 24-hour suicide prevent hotline, there are some government resources that people in need can call for help:
Therapists outreach (police community service department)
Therapists (social development office)
By Sara Ahmed