PUTRAJAYA SEPT.10: A total of 638 suicides were reported as of July 2021 compared to 262 cases for the same period in 2020 (Jan-July 2020) which is an increase of 143 per cent or more than1.4 times according to the Royal Police Malaysia (RPM) sources.
Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said, in conjunction with the “World Prevention of Suicide Day 10th Sept.2021 with the theme “Act Fast, Hope Built” is aimed at boosting public confidence to play an important role in preventing suicide incidents and eliminating the stigma associated with suicidal behaviour.
Dr. Noor HIsham said, in line with the ‘Malaysian Family Concept’, the role of the community collectively is important to identify the early symptoms of depression and suicidal behaviour among the loved ones especially in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“The Ministry of Health has implemented several initiatives to address the issue of suicidal behaviour. One of them is strengthening the psychosocial support helpline established by MOH with NGOs to assist individuals in need of support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is also an increase in counselling psychology officers at the district level and health clinics to strengthen mental health services, violence and injury prevention and substance abuse,” Dr. Noor Hisham said in a statement here today.
He added, the ministry also support for the decriminalization of attempted suicide where efforts for amendment/repeal of Section 309 under the Penal Code convicts attempted suicide is a criminal offence. This will encourage those affected to come forward and seek help as early as possible.
Dr. Noor Hisham also highlighted on the advocacy of the “Lets’ Talk Healthy Minds” campaign to target groups, community as a whole across agencies and in an integrated manner including the mass media, social media and stakeholders.
The Health Director General also stressed that suicide is among the top 10 causes of death in the world, and the fourth leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 29 years.
He added, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, worldwide there are more than 703,000 cases of suicide deaths each year with an average of 1 suicide incident in every 40 seconds.
Meanwhile in 2019, one in 100 deaths (1.3%) was due to suicide. For every life lost, it is estimated that a total of 135 family members or friends will be impacted emotionally, socially and economically.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic situation around the world has a huge impact on the mental health of every individual and Malaysian society is no exception.
Dr. Noor Hisham added, social factors that cause excessive stress such as losing a job or source of income, isolation from family support networks and friends can also affect some individuals who are at high risk for mental health problems including depression. If this depression fails to be identified and treated properly, it is at risk for suicidal behaviour. –Malaysia World News