Iran (MNN) — In Iran, 15 people die by suicide every day. Some experts say the true numbers may be higher. Many of these people are either in high school or college.
Mike Ansari with Heart4Iran says, “A lot of Iranians don’t have access to mental health facilities or situations where they can get diagnosed properly and get treatment. So I think that would be a part of it. But the other part of it is about a lack of hope.”
Iranian young people are highly educated and connected to the outside world through the internet. Ansari says they see how far their country has fallen behind in relation to human rights and even economics. “They ask the question, ‘Why is it that I can’t have the freedom that these people have? Why is it that my future is so bleak? Why is it that I cannot, as a woman, be able to enjoy certain civil liberties that other women have?’”
“The simplest thing is being forced to have a hijab, to have a covering.”
Protests against Iran’s harsh regime erupted two weeks ago. But demonstrations against the hijab law have been going on even longer. Ansari says, “About a month ago, there was a major uprising in Iran, where Iranian women took on the street, and they said, ‘We want to get rid of the hijab.’” Officials want to enforce hijab laws through facial recognition technology.
The uptick in deaths by suicide has other causes as well. Anxiety and depression have increased globally after the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among young people.
Through social media, Heart4Iran is reaching young people in the country. Ansari says, “If they are contemplating suicide, we say, ‘Have you heard that there is hope? Would you be willing to hear about Jesus?’ And in many cases, they say, ‘Yes, tell me more.’”
Pray young people across Iran will see the love and hope of Jesus.
Header photo courtesy of Heart4Iran on Facebook.