What War Brings: suicides
We have heard of the increase in suicide rates among
I am going to focus on suicides among the civilian population that is a direct result of war coming to their country. And, frankly, there is not a lot of information available.
There is a bit more evidence of prisoners in US-run overseas prison committing suicide, with the most recent report from
A Yemeni detainee at Guantánamo Bay who had been on a long hunger strike apparently committed suicide late Monday, military officials said Tuesday. The death was the first at the prison since President Obama took office, and detainees’ lawyers said it would focus new attention on conditions at the detention camp. The detainee, 31, was identified as Mohammad Ahmed Abdullah Saleh al Hanashi, who has been imprisoned since 2002 at the naval base in
The article goes on to describe the conditions Mr. Hanashi was kept under – force fed, held in restraint chair, kept under sedation, weight had dropped to 87 pounds at one point, and possible solitary confinement. This was the fifth suicide at
Mr. Remes, the lawyer with other Yemeni clients, said many prisoners are desperate. “They harbored some hope,” he said, “that President Obama would move swiftly to resolve the situation, but they can’t see any progress so far or any light at the end of the tunnel.”
I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel either. I just see more tunnels. But my real point for this post is to take a minute to reflect on the reality that people in war-savaged countries have to face, and to reflect on the certainty that some of them – it is unknown how many – will totally fall apart under the strain. Many more of them will become depressed from the losses and strife that comes from war, and from seeing loved ones who suffered or sustained horrific injuries or died.
A number of them will end their lives because of the pain and vastly changed conditions of their lives. I think this is particularly true for the people who have serious injuries, or saw violence (nearly everyone) or who lost a loved one. Not everyone in
There have been a few reports on mental health problems among Iraqis (none on Afghans that I could find). I found one report from a couple of years back, which discussed the increase in mental health problems and the decrease in mental health services, due to the war.
"Iraqis are being traumatized every day," said Dr. Said al-Hashimi, 54, a psychiatrist who runs a private clinic and teaches at
…… In a sparsely furnished office inside the hospital, Iraqis file in to describe their ailments to Dr. Haider Adel Ali, a somber 40-year-old psychiatrist. Fanzia Jaafer, a 65-year-old housewife, has suffered from severe depression and suicidal thoughts since viewing the corpse of her son, whose head was nearly torn off by gunfire late in 2003.
……. Though no reliable research exists on the state of Iraqis' mental health, the preliminary results of a survey of 10,000 primary school students in the Shaab section of north Baghdad, conducted by the Iraqi Society of Psychiatrists and the World Health Organization, reveals widespread problems.
.......... "I look into the eyes of children whose parents have been killed or are imprisoned every day," said Dr. Nadal al-Shamri, a pediatrician at the
There was only one psychiatric hospital in
There is a report on Iraqi refugees in
“We are shocked by the statistics, but at the same time we are not surprised because every hour of the day there is somebody who reports torture, there is someone who reports the devastating effects of the violence,” said Sybella Wilkes, spokesperson for the UNHCR in
….. According to the figures, 77 percent of respondents had been affected by air bombardments, shelling or rocket attacks, 80 percent had witnessed a shooting, 68 percent had undergone interrogation or harassment by militias, and 75 percent knew someone close to them who had been killed. In the UNHCR registration centre in Damascus Iraqi refugees do not hide their anguish: One family of 10 sat weeping uncontrollably as they recounted their story to a UNHCR registration clerk. Amongst them they had suffered rape and gunshot wounds and now they said they could no longer afford life in
The mental health challenges that come with everything that war brings would likely be more than I could stand. Just reading about it and writing about it is difficult – living it must be a waking nightmare. And the effects will be felt for a generation or more.
If you support the continued occupation of
TIMZ raps on