Suicides have increased in Iraq since the beginning of the year, as many young people suffer social and economic problems fuelled by the pandemic.

During the first eight months of the year, 298 Iraqis, 168 males and 130 females, committed suicide in all parts of the country, according to the Human Rights Commission in Iraq.

A member of it, Fadhel Al-Gharawi, explained that there were several reasons for people to attempt suicide, “including psychological, social and economic causes, lack of employment opportunities, lack of housing and shortcomings in human rights system and services provided to citizens.”

“We pointed to a rise in cases of domestic violence, accompanied by brutal crimes that led to burning children or women, against a background of family problems in light of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Gharawi added.

Gharawi urged the government and parliament to be quick on approving “the new bill on domestic violence and to develop serious solutions to address and reduce the two phenomena of suicide and domestic violence, and to preserve the family unit and society.”

Baghdad is where the most suicides were committed with 68 incidents, followed by Basra with 39, and Dhi Qar with 33 of its own.

In 2018, Iraq was ranked fourth on the list of the spread of “negative feelings” which could lead to suicide.

Why are suicides increasing?

Iraqis have been suffering economic hopelessness since 2003 as nearly half of university graduates have not been able to find employment in the public and private sectors in recent years.

Last year, demonstrations erupted across the country protesting the lack of service delivery, high unemployment and corruption, and have become a yearly occurence.

Although the government violently responded to the protests, it led to the resignation of the government that was being led by Adil Abdulmehdi.

On top of the existing issues, the pandemic generated more unemployment due to lockdown restrictions.

It is believed that young Iraqis are more prone to commiting suicide amid ongoing economic and social problems.

"Family problems and economic reasons, in addition to psychological pressures recently due to the coronavirus pandemic, have all led to an increase in suicide rates and suicide attempts in Iraq," Dr Ali Al-Bayati, a member of the High Commission for Human Rights told The New Arab.

"Also, the lack of interest in mental health and a lack of planning by the government to deal with this problem has led to an increase in cases of psychological problems that can contribute to suicide," he added.

The country has been facing one of its deepest financial crises battling unemployment, corruption, mismanagement, unreliable crude exports and the expenses spent on the war against Daesh. 

Source: TRT World