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Death of student who shared suicidal thoughts on social media shocks Egyptians

A YouTube videograb shows Sherif M. Qamar talking with his friend.
CAIRO: The death of a young Egyptian days after he shared suicidal thoughts on social media has sent shock waves across the country.
Sherif M. Qamar reportedly died of a self-inflicted gunshot, having shown signs of depression and suicidal thoughts in his last days.
But his family strongly deny that he committed suicide. “He died after mistakenly shooting himself while cleaning his gun,” an Egyptian newspaper quoted them as saying.
The 21-year-old dentistry student appeared in a YouTube video published in June expressing feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
In the footage, he is seated at a computer desk while an interviewer — apparently a friend — asks him if he has ever thought of committing suicide.
Qamar answered: “Yes, several times. In life, you’re always waiting for your turn to come — waiting to finish school, waiting for an exam and then having to wait for the results, waiting for traffic congestion to ease. You’re constantly waiting until death arrives, but why should you even wait?”
In the five-minute video, the friend asks Qamar: “Why are you doing this?” He answers: “If I commit suicide, does that hurt you in any way?”
The interviewer tries to dissuade Qamar by saying his parents would not be able to handle life without him. “We’re not the center of the world. People forget about you when you leave,” Qamar says.
When asked if he is trying to seek attention by sharing suicidal thoughts, he replied: “If people think I’m trying to seek attention with what I’m saying, then don’t pay attention to me.”
A few days before his death, reports said Qamar asked on Twitter about the best ways to commit suicide.
Cairo-based psychiatrist Dr. Osama Refaat told Arab News: “There are several types of depression that could eventually lead to committing suicide. Sometimes social media can be used as a part of planning for it.”
He added: “Patients with clinical depression are characterized by severe feelings of hopelessness, depression, and often suicidal ideation. So any mention of suicidal thoughts should be taken seriously by parents and friends.”
Shortly after Qamar’s death, a group of his friends set up a non-profit foundation aimed at treating people with depression for free.
Close friend Mohammed Mamdouh told Arab News that the foundation helps put volunteering psychiatrists in touch with depressed patients and schedule appointments at the clinic for them.

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