Mental health has become a serious challenge in Gaza over the last ten years and numbers of suicedes are increasing.
By Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh | Mondoweiss | Sept 11, 2020
‘Youth in Gaza have all motives for suicide. There’s poverty, unemployment, and uncertainty about the future.’
— Muhammad Abu el-Sebah, psychiatrist in Gaza
Suleiman al-Ajoury, 23, was a handsome young man and a cherished friend. Over the last three years he found himself unemployed and had no idea how to resume his once modest, yet stable, profession as a carpenter. Like so many young people in Gaza, he was at a standstill personally, out of work with no job on the horizon, all the while our wider environment crumbling around us. Our youth unemployment rate is a staggering 65%. The age bracket that figure encompasses is up to 24.
Then, on July 4, 2020 al-Ajoury killed himself at his home, leaving a message on social media that has since been removed by the platform. He described humiliation and a sense of hopelessness.
His post online led to endless questions among my peers about the reasons why he decided to end his life and opened difficult discussions about disappointment and the conditions people in Gaza live under.
I can trace his depression to two years ago. He once locked himself inside of his room, isolating and consuming news from around the world on his cell phone. Around that time he joined other disillusioned and disaffected youth and participated in the “We Want to Live Movement,” a short-lived protest movement that sought to end the division between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Fatah in the West Bank.