Female student dies of suicide in Faryab

A female student in Khan Chaharbagh district of Faryab province hanged herself with a rope on Sunday November 13, residents say. 

She was identified as Zarghona, an 18-year-old student, by residents, who asked not to be named. Like all girls her age, she had been banned from school for more than a year by the Taliban. And like so many females in Afghanistan, she had had mental issues, a resident explained.  

Taliban communications officials in Faryab confirmed the girl’s death by suicide but expressed ignorance as to the cause and motive of her death. 

The suicide rate among children is on the rise since the Taliban took over. Security problems, poverty, unemployment, family pressures, forced and underage marriages, patriarchy in families, drug addiction, and continuous war, are among the leading causes of mental illnesses in Afghanistan. Not only are many families having to decide between feeding themselves or seeking mental health for their children, but many agencies that used to provide help have closed in the past year.   

In October, the non-profit Save the Children reported that “Afghanistan is on the brink of a mental health catastrophe as the economic crisis and decades of conflict take a dangerous toll on children’s mental and psychosocial wellbeing.” According to the report, 4.5 million children and adults in Afghanistan need psychotherapy and support but only around 1.3 million were able to access any services at all. Their situation is so desperate that the United Nations estimates at least one or two women die by suicide every day in Afghanistan.  

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