COVID-19: Two Indian expats commit suicide in Kuwait, such cases increasing since start of pandemic

Kuwait City: Two Indian nationals, a man and a women, have committed suicide with such cases continuing to increase since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. The man hung himself from a tree and the woman hung herself from a ceiling fan, Al Anba reported.

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Firefighters and security officials were informed about the incidents and responded rapidly. The male’s body was transferred to a forensics department for examination to determine the cause of death while security officials have already registered the death of the woman in Jleeb Al Shuyoukh as suicide under case number 16/2020.

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Between February and June, there have been 40 suicide cases and 15 failed attempts, mainly among Asian expats, Al Qabas reported.

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In June, two expats committed suicide by hanging themselves: a Nepalese man, who was receiving treatment for COVID-19, and an Indian national working in Al Ahmad stables.

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A 40 per cent increase in suicide cases have been registered since the beginning of the pandemic. On average 70 to 80 suicide cases are registered annually. In 2019, 80 suicide cases were registered compared to 77 cases back in 2018.

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Economic and physiological effect

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The cases that have been investigated revealed that the majority whi committed suicide had endured physiological and economic hardships as they have either spent too long in isolation, haven’t been paid for months, or sometimes both.

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“There are several factors that would cause suicide, one of which is the issue of excessive anxiety and isolation, especially since people are spending all their time at home, sometimes without a schedule, thus creating a change in daily behavior,” Dr. Hussein Al Shatti, a psychiatrist at Amiri hospital, told Al Rai.

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According to a study by Leo Sher in the International Journal of Medicine, suicide rates went up during the 2003 SARS epidemic in Hong Kong due to social disengagement. As for economic effect, Sher pointed to the increase in suicide cases in relation to unemployment, as there was a spike in suicide cases during the 1930s Great Depression, as well us in most recession years.

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Samira Al Dosari, a social psychology consultant, explained the various motives for suicide, “[which] include financial pressure and crises gripping individuals from different nationalities amid the coronavirus pandemic,” she told Al Qabas. “Those individuals depend for their living on daily labour that has stopped because of the pandemic.”

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Areas like Jleeb Al Shuyouk and Mahboula, two neighbourhoods populated by mainly expats, were under total lockdown for three months. This mainly affected ‘day-to-day’ workers that depend on finding jobs based on current needs, like temporary construction jobs or short term driving jobs.

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Since Kuwait has been under some variation of partial curfews since March 21, except for three weeks in May where the country underwent a full lockdown, many businesses and companies were shut or are working in a limited capacity. Due to the curfew, many companies have not been able to operate regularly, thus resulting in some salary cuts for their employees or even letting them go.

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