Muscat: Suicide rate remains high among Indian expatriates, when compared to other Asian nationals residing in the Sultanate, a Times of Oman investigation shows.
According to well-informed sources, while 36 Indians have ended their lives since the beginning of this year through August 30, only six Bangladeshis residing in Oman have committed suicide as of the end of May, and no Filipino nationals residing in the Sultanate committed suicide from 2010 through June 2013.
"The suicide statistics of Indians in Oman reveal that every sixth day one Indian is committing suicide in the Sultanate, which is alarming," said Shaji Sebastin, a Muscat-based social worker.
"If earlier, poverty was a disturbing issue for many expatriates, now people are worried over silly issues. What I have observed is that everyone is addicted to consumerism and the greed to save more is leading them into trouble. And when they land in trouble, the majority don't have the courage to face it. Moreover, the social organisations are least bothered to help their fellow citizens," he added.
"If this is the rate, the number will be high this year when compared to previous years," he pointed out. Both in 2012 and 2011, more than 50 Indians had committed suicide.
Further, last week two Indian suicide cases were reported. While one Indian man committed suicide in Mussanah reportedly due to financial problems, a married Indian woman committed suicide possibly due to family issues in Kadhara.
"I have observed that mismanagement of one's own savings and lack of job satisfaction are the main reasons behind the suicides," Md. Sanaullah, a Bangladeshi social worker, said.
Meanwhile, psychologists describe this as a worrisome trend.
"I believe the main reason behind these suicides is that expatriates, especially Indians who are in distress, are lacking proper support. Even though there are umpteen numbers of registered and unregistered social organisations, they are not reaching out to the Indians who are in distress.
Helplines are dead," a medic-cum-counsellor who works in a government hospital said.
"The organisations are always interested in organising other activities when their fellow citizens are in distress.
"Lack of good counsellors and the lack of availability of proper medicines in the private sector can also be cited as two reasons behind the suicides. In addition, I have seen that many don't maintain financial discipline and the majority of them are facing huge stress in the workplace. Poor workers, especially, don't have any options to reduce stress," the psychologist added.
The Indian embassy has a dedicated Community Welfare Wing, headed by a senior India-based officer, which caters exclusively to the needs of distressed Indian workers in the Sultanate. The staff in the wing look after all aspects of the welfare of Indian residents in Oman. In addition to this, financial assistance is also provided from the Indian Community Welfare Fund to assist needy and deserving Indian nationals.
The embassy also holds Open House sessions every third Friday of the month to provide an additional informal platform to address the problem of workers and is operating a 24x7 helpline for distressed Indian workers to air their grievances.