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Pressure Driving Migrants to Suicide
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Pressure from work and home have contributed to the growing suicide rate among migrants in Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province, an official at the local medical emergency center said.

According to statistics from the Dongguan 120 medical emergency center, 552 people attempted suicide in Dongguan from April to September 10. Seventy percent of them were migrants.

Dongguan, a manufacturing powerhouse in the Pearl River Delta, is home to about 6 million registered migrants.

Health officials there set up a consultation hotline (22113311) in May that has so far received nearly 10,000 calls, of which 80 percent were from migrants.

"Twenty percent of the people who have called the center said they wanted to commit suicide," Kong Yuxian, director of the emergency center, said.

Kong said the number of suicide cases in Dongguan had increased by 25 percent during the first half of this year, compared to the same period of last year.

"Some migrants who left their hometowns in search of money in this city have struggled to find relief from the pressure they face at work," said Kong.

For example, some migrants, who tend to have little knowledge of their rights, choose suicide when their wages are withheld, Kong said.

Kong said most of suicide victims are young people.

"They do not know how to get along with others. When they have relationship troubles, they think life is over," Kong said.

Kong called for more psychological services for migrants.

At present, most hospitals in Dongguan do not provide psychological treatment services, Kong said.

"A special psychological service center for migrants should be built as soon as possible. And we hope some government departments, including public security, education and health, will hire more psychologists," Kong said.

Kong also said employers should do more to ensure comfortable working and living conditions for migrants.

"They (migrants) also need to keep in contact with friends and family members to help combat loneliness while working away from home," Kong said.

(China Daily September 19, 2007)

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