WATCH: A Madaya doctor describes seeing suicidal children at his clinic
The number of children attempting suicide and suffering from mental illness is on the rise in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, west of the capital city of Damascus.
<br>Save the Children reports at least six teenagers, including a 12-year-old girl, and seven young adults have tried to kill themselves in the past two months. Hundreds more Madaya residents are suffering from psychological problems, including severe depression and paranoia.
It was horrible and unbelievable, but I had to save their lives.
Dr. Muhammad Darwish, a dentist in Madaya who witnessed many of the suicide cases in his hospital, told Circa some of the children tried overdosing with drugs or cutting their veins.
The mountainous town near Syria's border with Lebanon, home to some 40,000 people, has been blockaded by government and pro-government militia forces since last summer.
They don't laugh like they would normally. They draw images of children being butchered in the war, or tanks, or the siege and lack of food.
Rula, a schoolteacher in Madaya, told Save the Children her students are "psychologically crushed."
In January, Madaya gained global attention when images of emaciated children went viral. Since then, a reported 65 people have died from hunger and malnutrition-related causes.
The town's residents are completely dependent on humanitarian aid deliveries. The last one was in June, <b>according to the Madaya Medical Committee</b>.
The UN estimates that <b>some 400,000 Syrians</b> lack access to life-saving aid.
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Photos via Syrian American Medical Society and Facebook / The campaign to end the starvation in Madaya and Zabadani