KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 ― A total of 468 suicide cases were reported throughout Malaysia in the first five months of this year, with Selangor being the state with the highest recorded numbers so far this year at 117 cases, the police said today when releasing the latest statistics.
The police’s Criminal Investigation Department director CP Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said the number of suicide cases reported in Malaysia in 2019 was 609 cases, and 631 cases for 2020.
Malay Mail’s calculations showed that the total from 2019 to May 2021 would be 1,708 cases.
He said that during the 2019 to May 2021 period, there were two cases every day on average.
Johor recorded the most cases for 2019 and 2020 with a total of 101 cases, he said.
From 2019 to May 2021, the cases reported involved 1,427 women and 281 men, with the majority being teenages aged 15 to 18 at 872 persons, followed by 668 persons aged 19 to 40.
Abd Jalil said investigations showed that the three main causes for these cases were family problems, emotional pressure and finances.
“Based on the trend of suicide incidents, all who are responsible especially the community should play an important role in curbing this.
“Individuals who face problems such as finance, health, emotional pressure, depression, family problems and others should be given assistance and support from their family and their closest friends,” he said.
He said the police urged individuals facing such problems to seek help and support from their family, closest friends and those who provide advice and counselling.
On June 29, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on mental health worldwide including in Malaysia.
Dr Noor Hisham said certain individuals have a high risk of experiencing mental health problems including depression, when faced with overwhelming stress and isolation from their family and friends support network.
He advised the public to be more alert to symptoms that could lead to suicidal behaviour, including behavioural changes, constantly looking sad or depressed, loss of interest in routine activities, difficulty in focusing and doing daily tasks, isolating oneself from family and friends, experiencing sleep disturbances and a loss of appetite, aggressive and abusive behaviour to one’s self and to others around them, and abusing alcohol and drugs, expressing feelings of loss of hope or boredom from living and feeling their presence burdens family members, verbally or writing to express a desire to end their life.
If there are such symptoms, the individual should obtain professional medical advice immediately to prevent the situation from worsening, he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also advised for the public to help by effectively communicating with individuals facing depression, such as taking the problems faced seriously and not taking those problems lightly or belittling the problems, spending time to listen to the individuals, showing empathy and avoiding from judging that individual, using the latest technology to maintain connections with the individual, giving social support to them such as helping in daily matters, and encouraging and helping them to receive professional assessment and treatment.
Syed Azmi Alhabshi, co-founder of the NGO PUAKPayong, on June 29 compiled in a Facebook post a list of 44 organisations along with their helplines and contact details for anyone who needs counselling or advice.
The #KitaJagaKita website also keeps a list of aid that can be sought such as helplines for counselling, emotional support and advice for children, women, refugees, migrants, domestic workers and other vulnerable communities and for suicide prevention.
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