CAIRO – 24 November 2018: News about suspected suicide of an Egyptian doctor has gone viral on social media, stirring a debate on damaging stereotypes linked to depression disorders, from which the deceased has been reportedly suffering.
On Facebook, many of Ibrahim Ahmed Nasra’s friends and relatives disagreed with posts referring to his death as due to suicidal depression; however, many posts allegedly attributed to Nasra calling for assistance to his severe state of depression and self-isolation.
On Wednesday, the death was reported as due to defenestration, claiming that Nasra, a Neuropsychiatrist Resident at Damanhour Medical National Institute, jumped to death from the ninth floor of a building.
After Nasra’s death, people on social media sites started sharing multiple screenshots of Nasra’s posts that were filled with suicide talk. It is obvious that he was fighting depression with every cell in his body. Nasra’s personal photos were all removed off his Facebook account hours later.
“Resistant severe crippling depression. I suffer depression that resists all medication and therapy, to the extent that I am thinking about the last solution used, ECT, which is treatment using electricity. The worst thing about depression is what it does to the people you love,” says a post on his Facebook account.
Moreover, he added, “Every day there is news about a young man committing suicide, they all look and sound like us. The suicide decision comes after years of thinking, and it could happen in the spur of the moment if someone is in unbearable agony, so he looks for the fastest means to end the pain. I’m talking about the psychological pain caused by the country. Could it be because the youth has realized how nasty and random and useless life is? I don’t know, but all I know is that every piece of suicide news encourages 1000 more.”
Among the screenshots was a picture of the very last post Ibrahim published on his account saying; “Grant me the strength to go…”
On the other end of the debate thread on social media, many users disagreed with some comments blaming Nasra’s ‘lack of religion’ over his suicidal depression, and aroused to challenge depression disorders’ ‘stereotypes.’
“Those who are saying that depressed people don’t have faith have not struggled depression and mental illness themselves. They don’t know what it’s like to struggle internally and lose your passion for life. Depression is a disease that needs to be cured and requires a society that treats it like any other disease, rather than pinning it on lack of faith. Being close to God makes us feel safe and at peace, but it does not cure depression,” Amira Ibrahim wrote.
Egypt has witnessed several suicide incidents during the last period. In September, an employee attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself under the wheels of the metro in Gamal Abdel Nasser station which delayed movement for 15 minutes and resulted in the amputation of the employee’s foot. He was then transported to the Red Cross hospital.
In July, a 17-year-old threw himself in front of a train in Old Marg station, leading to his immediate death; also in the same month a 20-year-old committed suicide at Mary Gerges station.
Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said more than half a million citizens tried to commit suicide in 2015.
On social media, citizens shared posts urging suicidal people to commit suicide anywhere other than metro stations because it disturbs the metro riders’ lives.
Suicide is a big problem in many cities around the world. The UK’s government used horrible ads asking depressed people to commit suicide at home.