An Iranian sociologist said that officials refrained from announcing the high rate of suicides among residents of the western province of Ilam. Salar Kasraie said that women in the province had turned to committing suicide with pills and poison instead of self-immolations in a meeting on women in Ilam.
His remarks were covered by the state-run ILNA News Agency.
“Unfortunately, suicide rates in Ilam are not announced by the relevant authorities and this is a problem that I’ve had during my research into suicides among the people of Ilam,” he said in the meeting.
“Despite my efforts, I was not able to get any statistics from the Medical Sciences University or the province’s coroner’s office,” he added.
He said that the western province of Ilam, southwest province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, western province of Kermanshah and Lorestan had the highest rates of suicides in the country.
“These provinces share many similarities in terms of culture, society, history and economics,” the sociologist added.
Salar Kasraie said that Ilam had the most suicides in Iran in 2016.
“In researching medical records, (we found) that 6% of people in Ilam commit suicide with chemicals, including pills, drugs, detergents, alcohol and so on. The rates of self-immolation has almost decreased among people in the province, but unfortunately, most of those who commit suicide through other methods are hurt,” he said adding that 43% of deaths from suicides were the result of self-immolations.
Kasraie said that most suicides in Ilam were among illiterate people and that suicides that led to deaths were mostly carried out by the unemployed and housewives.
The Iranian sociologist said that the cause of women’s suicides in the province had not been researched enough.
He said that most suicides were among the unemployed but that the reason behind the suicides of 49% of the people was not written in their files.
“Maybe the suicides in Ilam are not important enough for authorities to document the reason behind the suicides in their files.”
“The question is why health centers do not ask and document the reason behind suicides so that experts can then use that information to find a solution to the problems in Ilam Province,” Kasraie added.
The sociologist said that statistics showed that from 1982 to 2005, suicide rates in Iran had increased fourfold while women’s suicides had increased twofold.
“In 2017, the Legal Medicine Organization announced suicide numbers for that year but immediately removed it from its website,” Kasraie added.
“We were able to copy the statistics from other places. According to the numbers, 4,627 people committed suicide in 2017, 3,000 of whom were women,” he said adding that the actual numbers were much higher.
In September, an Iranian official in charge of the suicide prevention program at the Ministry of Health said that Iran’s suicide rate had increased with around 100,000 cases during the last Persian year (March 21, 2018 to March 21, 2019).
According to the state-run Khabar Online website, “suicide rates in Iran are increasing in an astonishing way.”
“From 2011 to 2015, suicide rates increased 66% amongst women and 71% amongst men”, Khabar online wrote.
“For years now, the media have not been given stats when it comes to suicide rates as relevant organizations refuse to publish them,” the website added.
Iran’s western provinces suffer from a very high rate of unemployment and poverty, which would account for the high rates of suicides in that region.
The men were residents of a village in Haris, West Azarbaijan Province.
There were also reports that on September 30, four Iranians self-immolated while one man jumped off a building due to economic pressure in western and southwestern Iran.