KT calls Dubai Police to stop expat's suicide bid
Dubai - The letter sender added that he is the only son and he can't face his family because of the financial dilemma he is in.
It was a usual day at the office - we were looking into the latest news, following up with the day's pressing stories and scanning e-mails to know our readers' reactions. And, one e-mail caught our attention on Monday.
A distressed expat wrote to us that he would commit suicide. We immediately took action and called the authorities.
The e-mail reads: "Dear Khaleej Times people, how are you? I just need to tell you guys please don't publish the news of my death. I am going to commit suicide tomorrow because I am in a very bad financial situation right now."
The letter sender added that he is the only son and he can't face his family because of the financial dilemma he is in.
He adamantly requested not to publish the news of the suicide he said he was about to commit. He also requested that he be buried in the UAE. The man did not give his full name and details of his whereabouts. The only detail we got is that the man lives in Hor Al Anz. The mail could be a prank or the man was just trying to pull our leg, we thought.
But prudence dictated us not to dismiss it - hoax or not, there is a lesson to this story - and so, we decided to call the authorities to help us trace the e-mail sender with high hopes that we can help prevent someone from taking his own life.
We called the Dubai Police and they sent a team to Khaleej Times. We discussed with them the details of the e-mail and the police took all the relevant information.
At Press time, we are still waiting for updates on whether the police have already found the man.
We would like to assure the man, a KT reader, that he is not alone. The number one priority right now is to keep him safe and let him know that there are people willing to help.
12.28pm: KT receives the e-mail
12.33pm: KT calls up the Dubai Police non-emergency helpline. An official picks up and transfers the call to the correct department.
12.35pm: KT calls the Dubai Police emergency helpline and explains the matter to them and they note down the details.
12.45pm: KT receives a call from a Dubai Police official who asks for more details. He says he'll be coming to the office.
12.55pm: The Dubai Police patrol vehicle arrives at the KT premises. The policemen discuss the e-mail, take relevant details, make the KT journalist who received the e-mail to speak to a cybercrime department official. The e-mail is then forwarded to a Dubai Police e-mail address.
1.10pm: A cybercrime official calls up KT to verify the details and shares a WhatsApp number to which the e-mail and all relevant details are forwarded.
5.30pm: Dubai Police call up the KT journalist and requests the e-mail header (the HTML part of the e-mail that includes details such as mailbox servers, IP addresses, etc.)
Few myths about suicide:
. Those who want to commit suicide ...will do it anyhow
. By talking about it, we might give them an idea to do it
. People who are having death wishes are mentally ill
How to manage such situation
. Seek professional help
. Make a safety plan
. Remove all potentially harmful and sharp objects
. Do not advise or counsel, but bring for help from a specialist
. Be proactive and listen; express empathy
. Assure the person that help is available
. Encourage the person to do most of the talking, e.g. about their feelings and thoughts
. Do not use threats or guilt: Do not discuss whether suicide is wrong or right
. Never keep suicide a secret but let him decide whom to tell
. Find ways to address the specific problems
. Involve the person in deciding whom will be told
. Do not make promises you cannot keep
. Do not use guilt or threats to prevent suicide. Do not tell the person they will go to hell or ruin other people's lives
. Do not dare or tell the suicidal person to 'just do it'
What to do if one tells you about suicide plan
Farah Dahabi, clinical social worker and head of mental health first aid at The LightHouse Arabia, said: "Listen and talk to the person."
Dahabi advised: "I would encourage you to say: 'I cannot imagine what you're going through right now. It sounds like you are completely overwhelmed and just want your suffering to end. What can we do to help keep you safe right now?"
The immediate response should be is to encourage the person to tell his/her family or friends how he/she is feeling, Dahabi added.
No suicidal ideas or wish to end one's life should be taken lightly, psychiatrists emphasised. It is important to highlight to the person that suicidal thoughts can be involuntary and can occur as part of depression.
Dr Asad Sadiq, psychiatrist and managing director at The Psychiatry and Therapy Centre, Dubai Healthcare City, said: "Suicidal thoughts go away when the depression is treated."
'Don't take drastic actions when you're in distress'
Officers at the Consulate-General of India (CGI) in Dubai revealed that although suicide threat calls are rarely made to the consulate, it is not entirely uncommon.
Neeraj Agrawal, head of chancery and acting consul-general of India, said the consulate and the Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendra, a community resource centre, both have a 24/7 hotline for Indian expatriates living in the UAE. The 24-hour consulate hotline is manned by a senior officer from the Indian mission.
Agarwal said, "I would sincerely request my fellow Indians in the UAE to avoid taking drastic measures in times of distress. We have counsellors in the consulate as well as in the PBSK who can help. In case of emergencies, the consulate also provides medical intervention."