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Family strife blamed for high suicide rate among Turkish women

The Local · 21 May 2010, 11:18

Published: 21 May 2010 11:18 GMT+02:00

While a nationwide study has yet to be undertaken, regional data from Cologne and Frankfurt shows that young women of Turkish background try to kill themselves twice as often as their German counterparts, daily Die Welt reported on Friday.

But a cooperation between Berlin’s Charité hospital and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf that began in early 2009 aims to find out the reasons behind the disturbing numbers.

Both facilities are now monitoring the statistics for suicide attempts by young women from Germany's largest immigrant population that are treated in their emergency rooms – in particular the reason the patients say they wanted to die, the paper said.

“We surmise the reason for the increase in suicide rates are conflicts within the family,” Charité study leader Meryam Schouler-Ocak told the paper. “For example the girls perhaps want a boyfriend, or they want to go out to clubs with their circle of friends. Or imagine when a girl is supposed to marry someone she doesn’t want to marry.”

Papatya, an help centre for young female immigrants in Berlin, told the paper that it frequently helps women who already have already attempted suicide in the past.

“Often it’s a desperate attempt to give the family a sign that something must change that isn’t being heard, or that the family doesn’t want to believe,” a spokeswoman said. “Sometimes the girls have told us, ‘I’d rather kill myself than let my brother do it’.”

Charité’s Schouler-Ocak said that many of the women who try to kill themselves are completely dependent on their family or husband – particularly those young those who have come directly from Turkey as “import brides.”

Because family problems within the Turkish community are traditionally handled privately, Schouler-Ocak said study organisers are working on distributing information on places for women to get help where they are most likely to see them.

Story continues below…

The new intervention efforts, set to begin in Berlin this June, are focussed on posters and flyers in a media campaign to promote a new Turkish-language, anonymous crisis hotline within the community. Key community members such as teachers and doctors will also be trained to spread the word.

But the campaign will not be undertaken in Hamburg so that the two cities can compare the effectiveness of the measures, the paper said.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:48 May 21, 2010 by harrylatour
And Turkey wants full EU membership??!! If Europe lets backward countries like this in,,then we WILL be doomed!!
17:40 May 21, 2010 by William Thirteen
hmmm....not sure what a problem involving German-Turkish women that live in Germany has to do with the possible EU membership of Turkey but hey - you're the expert....aren't you?
19:15 May 21, 2010 by michael4096
I'm sad about desperation of the subjects of this article.

From the perspecive of those of us saying 'give them the opportunity for individual freedom and they will take it', this is sobering reality. Those taking your hand are most likely to be alienated from family and friends.

On the other hand, if the opportunity is not presented, many will suffer from loveless marriages and stone-age social norms.

Careful with those statistics, eugene.
21:35 May 21, 2010 by marimay
Harrylatour... what a moron.
15:50 May 22, 2010 by danceswithgoats
marimay - Why is Harrylatour a moron? What he says is exactly correct. Culture counts. Their culture is backward. These poor Turkish girls can see what it is like to live in a First World culture but can't truly experience it.
19:47 May 22, 2010 by berlinski
I wonder if there are any cuties hidden under those Burkas? What a shame.
21:34 May 22, 2010 by surj
#1, Agree with you, once Turkey is allowed in EU, not only would it be the end of Western civilization ,but true Islamization will begin with earnest. Doors will open for Iranians,Afghans, Pakistanis to get into EU. The Turks will issue any Muslim from those countries, Turkish passports so as to facilitate them to get into EU in order to increase Muslim population of EU. Think about it, I have lived among Muslims and I know who their dubious mind works.
13:55 May 23, 2010 by marimay
A lot of paranoid people on this website.
01:56 May 24, 2010 by Tracy B
marimay, wake up and smell the falafel. We're not paranoid, just aware of the realities of Islam. What's going on in Europe right now is called "stealth jihad.". You should research it. A good place to start is Jihadwatch.org. And if you want info from people really in the know on this subject, check out the apostatesofislam site...it's run by ex-Muslims.
19:06 May 27, 2010 by marimay
Oh yeah, you are definitely not paranoid. lol
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