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Suicide attempt: WhatsApp Status helps save life

Call for professional helpline to cater to suicide cases
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If you have always wanted to really understand any person's nature, attitude, behaviour, mood or way of life, it is now easier than ever before. Just go and visit his/her WhatsApp Status. In some cases, it can be very useful and helpful.

As in the case this past weekend when Syed Shaandar Ali Shah Bukhari, a marketing professional and social welfare worker hailing from Pakistan, saved the life of an Omani citizen.

"One of my Omani friends wanted to commit suicide. I happened to see his WhatsApp status by chance that he was preparing to commit suicide," he said.

"Then, after a struggle of two hours of contacting him via WhatsApp because he was not taking any calls, I managed to convince him not to commit suicide. I had to involve Royal Oman Police because he was not giving me his whereabouts," Bukhari added.

Explaining how he managed to convince him, Bukhari said, "It was really very tough. The situation came all of a sudden, and I didn't know how to convince him. He was getting angry with every passing minute. He was only communicating with me. Police were in touch with me because when they tried to call him, he became more angry and later, his family got involved, but no one knew where he was."

"Later, somehow, I managed to get his location, and I reached him and managed to open the room, and I, along with two of my cousins, managed to detach him from the fan where he had hung himself. I thank God all my efforts bore fruits after a long struggle, and I am so happy that I was able to save one life in this regard," he added.

Bukhari was of the view that there should be a hotline number for such cases. "This has become a very serious issue in society, especially among young people. When they get into trouble and don't know what to do and whom to ask for counselling, they tend to commit suicide. There should be some number where such people get professional counselling to control their mood. I hope the authorities take action on this, and there should be a hotline where we can call and connect with such cases," he said.

"In this case, I was searching on Google if there was any number where I could inform and they could counsel him as I was finding it difficult to convince him, and it was merely a matter of minutes, the situation could have gotten out of hand," he added.

Dr Hamed al Sinawi, a consultant psychiatrist at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, said reports of suicide cases in Oman are on the rise. "We have heard about the sad cases of people committing suicide, and indeed, we need a helpline for such issues in Oman," he said.

"There is a need for better awareness about mental health issues and when to seek help. Such cases are from the locals and expatriates alike who may be more vulnerable, especially when they lack family and social support," he added.

"But for the Omanis," Dr Sinawi said, "social support may not be enough." "When a person is suffering from a form of mental illness, that's difficult for people around him to understand or sympathise with him or her; hence there is a need for a professional helpline," he said.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 703,000 people take their own life every year, and many more people attempt suicide.

"Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and entire countries and has long-lasting effects on the people left behind. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan, and it was the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally in 2019," WHO states.


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