We Should Talk… About Mind Health

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please get in touch with the Samaritans or a trained medical professional.

Since the change in the law in 2020, that means those attempting suicide will not be charged in the face of a failed attempt, those who have attempted to commit suicide will not be legally charged. This is a step in the right direction for the UAE, as it begins to prioritise people’s mental health like never before. The stigma around our mental health may be improving, and yet one study found that residents in a medical school were generally more negative towards the idea of suicide, but still very supportive towards a friend who reports suicidal thoughts.

That’s why World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th of September is so important. It allows us to share a part of life that is rarely talked about or even acknowledged. A positive post in support of those suffering, can mean a lot to someone who has no one to talk about when they are feeling at their worst.

The UAE government has included mental health initiatives in a wide variety of insurance plans, a resource that can’t come too soon. While nearly 1 in 100,000 of those who take their lives are Emirati, six times more expatriates take their lives in the UAE. This shocking difference reminds us of how important it is to get support from friends and family when we’re feeling down and far from home.

Social stigma

There is still a stigma attached to admitting you have a problem or that you can’t cope, especially in certain cultural and ethnic groups. To anyone worried about what people might think if you need support, it’s helpful to remember that no one has to know that you’re seeking help. When calling any of the free hotlines listed below, you can remain anonymous. If you seek out a psychiatrist or a therapist, you do not need to share this information with friends or family.

The main thing is to reach out for help when you need it. This is not a weakness, but a strength: It may be the hardest thing you ever do, but it could just save your life. Perhaps many more suicides could have been prevented worldwide if those who are suffering felt they had someone they could talk to. If you need it, get help.

How to support your loved ones

If you know someone who seems depressed, you will likely only want to help them. Being supportive, spending time with them without any expectations, and showing you care for them are all ways you can be there for someone you care about. If you notice they have begun to change their eating or sleeping habits, have stopped doing what they love, or speak about life being pointless, then it’s time to reach out to a mental health professional for further advice.

If you hear your friend or a member of your family talking about suicidal ideation, it’s never something to take lightly. They may be in a lot of distress and need to be heard, but any time someone expresses the desire to end their own life, it’s best to assume they are serious and to get some help. This also applies to anyone who has lost someone to suicide and needs help grieving and processing. No matter how long it has been, this is always a difficult thing to comprehend, and talking to someone who understands and can help you make sense of it all can make all the difference.

Where to get help

  • If you feel like you need help with the issue of suicide:
  • Call an anonymous hotline – these are often free
  • Speak to a therapist, counselor, or psychotherapist
  • Talk to a trusted friend or family member
  • Reach out to an anxiety or depression support group


Support for women and children


Suicide support hotlines

Mental health support line


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