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CNRP youth activist posts suicide attempt

An opposition party youth activist who uses her popular Facebook page for political campaigning has been released from hospital after trying to overdose on Monday in a publicly shared video.

The 19-year-old, who goes by the name “Peypey Ly” online, posted the 10-minute clip to her 71,000 Facebook fans. The incident has raised questions about pressures faced by the host of young opposition activists catapulted to online fame during last year’s post-election protests.

In the video, Ly complains that she has faced serious family issues because of her political activities, and expressed anger about societal “discrimination” faced by Cambodia National Rescue Party youth personalities.

She claimed to have not been able to find a job as a cashier or a waitress “because I joined the CNRP that I love”.

The video has drawn more than 17,000 views and almost 500 comments.

Uy Sreynich, 19, who goes by the name “Dany Kon Khmer” online and has 7,600 Facebook fans, said she could empathise.

“In the beginning my family also did not support me joining the opposition.”

Back in 2012, the Royal University of Phnom Penh found that Cambodia’s suicide rate was 42.35 per 100,000 people compared to a global average of 16.

Mental health services, however, remain limited.

Dr Ken Carswell, a clinical psychologist working in Phnom Penh, said it was impossible to predict whether this highly publicised attempt could trigger others.

“The research evidence about copycat suicides is mixed,” he said.

“[And] those studies were not done in Cambodia. So to know or try to predict what might happen in Cambodia is pretty much impossible.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann yesterday said that Ly, like other online activists, was a volunteer. He denied that the CNRP bore any responsibility for the issues she faced.

“We will try to find a way for her to live together with Cambodian society, bring hope to her and help her share difficulties with her friends and the CNRP.”

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