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Ilam struggles with rising suicide rate

Source: Radio Zamaneh

The suicide rate in the western Iranian province of Ilam has risen to a critical level, says a provincial health official.

In the past year, 2,000 people committed suicide in Ilam
The population of Ilam was estimated at 550,000 in 2005

Sadegh Rostami, the head of Ilam's health and well-being organization, told ISNA on Sunday: "We have no exact recorded statistics about the number of suicides, but according to some research, in some months at least four people commit suicide each week in Ilam Province."

He added that the majority of the victims are women under the age of 30.

"In some cities, especially Eyvan, the situation has passed the critical stage," Rostami said.

According to government statistics, Ilam's unemployment rate was at 16.7% in spring 2011

According to Ilam's top health official, "divorce and its ensuing problems" are the reason for the high number of women committing suicide.

Unemployment is a major cause of suicide, said Ilam MP Daryoosh Ghanbari, who noted last month that his province has the country's highest suicide rate.

In the past year, 2,000 people committed suicide in Ilam, according to Ghanbari.

He said the government has not followed through on any of its many promises to create jobs in Ilam.

Ghanbari, who is also a member of Parliament's social development commission, said: "The employment statistics released by the government are not true. In the past year, it announced the creation of 1.6 million jobs and this year another 2.5 million jobs. If that had been true in both cases, unemployment rates would have reached zero, but in every city the rate is in the double digits."

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