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JustHere | December 8, 2016

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Study: Self-harming behaviour is common among adolescents and young adults in Qatar

On the occasion of World Suicide Prevention Day, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) seeks to promote better understanding of suicide and self-harming behavior, and highlights the importance of seeking psychological support for people who are dealing with stress or mental illness.

“It’s very important to speak out about suicide because when people feel comfortable expressing their feelings and know that they are not going to be judged or looked down upon because they have thoughts of ending their life, then they are more likely to seek help. By talking about suicide, we can also look at the factors that cause it and how we can prevent it or reduce its incidence,” said Dr. Suhaila Ghuloum, Senior Consultant at HMC’s Psychiatry Department.

Suicide is not a deliberate act but is due to a mental illness such as severe depression or anxiety that impairs the judgment of the person committing or attempting suicide

Contrary to a common belief that suicide or the act of killing oneself is a sign of weakness or lack of faith, in the majority of cases, suicide is not a deliberate act but is due to a mental illness such as severe depression or anxiety that impairs the judgment of the person committing or attempting suicide, according to Dr. Ghuloum.

The psychiatry expert pointed out that a mental illness such as depression is just like any other illness which has biological causes, and that it can be treated. She encouraged people to seek professional help, not necessarily from a psychiatrist but also from a counselor or a psychologist, when their mental state starts to affect their functioning including their ability to socialize, work, study or perform other activities of daily life. Support groups can also help as these can help one feel less isolated.

Initial findings of an HMC-led research study show the incidence of suicide in Qatar and the region in general is significantly lower than those in many countries. However, the study has also found self-harming behavior to be common among adolescents and young adults in Qatar, particularly among those aged from 16 to early twenties. Dr. Ghuloum said data from the study is still in the process of being analyzed.

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