The husband of an Iranian refugee on Nauru who tried to burn herself to death says despair over indefinite detention was to blame for the suicide attempt.
Last week, the woman locked herself in the family’s accommodation unit and set it alight.
Security guards rescued her before flames destroyed the building.
The woman has now been placed under the care of the Immigration Department-controlled mental health unit on Nauru.
Shirdel said his 30-year-old wife, Fatima, did not keep her desperation about life on Nauru secret.
He said there had been previous attempts at self harm, but not like last week.
“She told me everything and she said, ‘I’m getting tired of this life and I don’t want to continue this life. I want to kill myself’,” Shirdel said.
Fatima did not suffer any physical injuries, but Shirdel said his wife was in an even-more-fragile mental state because her attempt to kill herself failed.
“I just need her to be back. Please bring back my wife to me,” he said.
The couple had hoped to settle in Australia when they arrived by boat, in August 2013 at Christmas Island.
But six months later they were transferred to Nauru.
Couple’s child allegedly assaulted
Shirdel said another concern was for their son, Mohamed.
Shirdel said while his son did not understand why, he knew his mother was unwell and said his son was very anxious.
“And he just asks me, ‘What happened to my mum? What happened to my house, and my clothes and everything’?”
Shirdel said their concern about Mohamed also added to Fatima’s mental health problems.
And he claimed the child lost a tooth after allegedly being assaulted by guards a few months after landing in Nauru.
Shirdel said although his wife was under the care of the IHMS mental health team on Nauru, he was still worried about her.
He said they had been in and out of that facility for the past three months, trying to get help. Shirdel said he did not think the IHMS facility would make a difference.
“They just say, ‘Everything is okay’, but … everything [is] not okay, [it’s] just going down.”
An Immigration Department spokeswoman said Australia provided comprehensive medical support services to the regional processing centre in Nauru and to Nauruan Government health facilities.
She also said the department was aware of the allegations of assault against a child.