Man found dead in apparent suicide on Velidhoo

Police have reported death of a 24 year-old man from Velidhoo in Noonu Atoll, after he was discovered hanged from ceiling fan in his room at 12:35pm yesterday.

An official from the island office told Minivan News that the man was discovered by his father.

“He lived a very normal life and worked in his brother’s restaurant on the island,” the official said.

”According to what most of the islanders are saying, he had this problem with his girlfriend’s father; he had not been accepted by him. He lived together on the island with his girlfriend from Male’ and they were about to get married, but her Dad sent a letter to the court saying he would not give the consent for the marriage to take place.”

Deputy Minister for Health Mariya Ali said the Maldives lacked a comprehensive mental health system, and that the number of psychiatrists in the country was inadequate.

“Normally a person with a serious mental condition will be assessed and taken to ‘Guraidhoo’ (a mental health rehabilitation centre) until their psychotic episode is over,” Mariya said. “But after being discharged, the aftercare is not very strong and patients may stop taking their prescriptions. Their condition can deteriorate and they can relapse.”

Furthermore, Mariya said that it was very likely that the country’s high rate of child sex abuse was leading to a high prevalence of mental health disorders in later life, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety problems, but that there was little general awareness of mental health issues in Maldivian society.

The Maldives also lacks the equivalent of a ‘Samaritans’ helpline, common in many developed countries, offering counselling and advice for people coping with depression or suicidal thoughts.

”The former government developed a draft mental health care policy with the assistance of the World Health Organisation (WHO), but it was never implemented,” Mariya noted. “We are now revising this policy and after that we should have an idea of what a mental health response system should look like.”