Lavish, unplanned lifestyle to be blamed, says activist

DUBAI — Extravagant and unplanned lifestyle is to be blamed for most of the suicide cases among expatriates in the UAE, according to an expert who has been conducting voluntary awareness programmes and counselling services across the GCC.

By (Staff Reporter)

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2011, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:54 AM

K. V. Shamsudheen, chairman of the Indian welfare organisation Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, said the World Anti-Suicide/Suicide Prevention Day, which fell on September 10, was of great relevance to the UAE due to the spate of suicides among the expatriates.

“Recent reports show that the major reason for suicides is financial problems of the victims and related depression. Most of the people who committed suicide had multiple loans, like bank loans, loans from credit cards and loans from individuals who charge very high monthly interest of 10 per cent (120 per cent annually),” said Shamasudheen, who conducted nearly 250 financial awareness classes for his community members last year.

He pointed out that the lack of an effective system to check the credit worthiness of borrowers had helped many people to take loans from multiple banks. “There are people who have 12 credit cards. They take loans from all cards and I know of cases of people who had take loans 50 times higher than their monthly incomes. They don’t have any clue as to how they could repay the loan.

When they cannot repay the instalments and interests, there will be pressure from banks and individuals who lend money. “This will lead to depression and mental pressure among borrowers. In most of the cases, these expatriates will not share their financial situation to their families back home or even to their friends. So, without knowing the financial condition of their bread-winner, families will keep on demanding for money and it will further worsen the situation.”

Giving emotional support is the best way to rebuild confidence in such depressed people, he said, urging those in distress to seek the counselling services available with various entities. “By conducting more and more financial awareness classes to teach to live within the means, avoid extravagant lifestyle, financial discipline and the habits of saving and investment for the future, we could reduce the number of suicide cases,” he said.

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