The number of suicide cases that is happening in Malaysia is increasing at an alarming rate, especially so since the Covid-19 pandemic started in Malaysia.
In response, the Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin said the government will invest more into improving the mental health services they are providing now with the usage of technology to expand the reach.
He said that mental health care should be more easily accessible by the public and for that, new methods of delivering mental health services must be developed.
“Apart from economic assistance, it is equally critical that people are given adequate mental health support during the pandemic.” he said live on the UNICEF Malaysia’s and Bernama TV yesterday (14 October).
Khairy also revealed that between January and July this year, the police recorded 638 suicide cases compared to 262 cases during the same period last year.
“What’s even more worrying is the increase in deaths due to suicide among adolescents aged between 15 and 18, which doubled from 2019 to 2020.” he said.
Nonetheless, he said that mental health awareness beings at home and both parents and caregivers played an important role in creating a safe and supportive environment for their children.
He also said that families need to know that they are not on their own and support will be given to them. At the local level, mental health awareness and advocacy needs to take immediate action to empower the community with psychosocial support and community activities.
Meanwhile, community leaders can be trained to provide assistance and refer cases to the relevant agencies for professional support.
Khairy also said that the Health Ministry (KKM) supports the government’s move to repeal Section 309 of the Penal Code that deems attempted suicide as a crime.
“Decriminalising suicide will reduce the stigma and encourage those affected to come forward to seek help for their mental health issues. It is my hope that this movement to decriminalise suicide will happen very soon.” he said.
He added that KKM and the Youth and Sports Ministry are working on addressing mental health issues and will be carrying out counselling programmes and mental health awareness campaigns, to community engagements.
He also urge non-governmental organisations to (NGO) contribute in spreading awareness on the importance of mental health and promoting a whole-of-society approach.
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Watch the full event here: