Health Director-General, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had recently pointed out that Malaysia had recorded 336 suicide cases in the first 3 months in this year, and on average it’s about 4 cases a day.
He added that the shocking statistic was from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), as reported by FMT. He even made a comparison to the previous years, whereby there were 631 suicide cases in 2020, and 609 recorded in 2019.
The number of cases in the first quarter in 2021 alone was more than half of what was reported throughout 2020.
The Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 was implemented in targeted areas starting 13 Jan but eventually expanded to the entire nation, and it had then become the MCO 3.0.
Noor Hisham admits that the Covid-19 pandemic and indefinite rounds of MCO have huge impact on one’s mental health and those who have no access to support networks and are facing extreme stress were at a higher risk of facing mental health problems, such as depression.
Individuals who are facing depression and are not treated immediately will risk worsening their situation and develop suicidal behaviour too. Hence, he urge the public to be more aware if any of their close ones were showing early signs of depression.
The symptoms include behavioural changes, expressing a sense of hopelessness or feeling as if their presence was a burden to their family, and talking about wanting to end their lives either verbally or in writing.
“If they display any of the symptoms listed, the individual is advised to seek professional medical advice immediately to avoid their condition from worsening,” he said.
Nonetheless, he advised the public to communicate with these depressed individuals effectively and listen to their grievances with empathy and avoid being judgemental.
On the other hand, Noor Hisham said that the media play an important role in reporting accurate information on suicide cases.
“The public is asked to respect the victim’s family by not recording any videos or distributing pictures on social media about the individual who committed suicide.
“Suicide can be prevented, but viral posts on social media could lead to ‘copycat suicides’ for those at risk.” he said.
As a reminder to all, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. If you or anyone you know is facing severe stress or having negative thoughts, reach out to these Malaysian hotlines for help!
- Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (MHPSS): 03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392
- Talian Kasih: 15999, or WhatsApp 019-261 5999
- Jakim’s Family, Social and Community care centre: WhatsApp 0111-959 8214
- Befrienders Kuala Lumpur: 03-762 72929