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#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – #Police Data how #Men Make Up Bulk Of #SuicideAttempts Since 2016


By Tharanya Arumugam

File pic (For illustration purposes only)
File pic (For illustration purposes only)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has seen a 61.7 per cent jump in #suicideattempts over the course of six years from 2016, with #adult #men aged 19 to 40 making up the bulk of cases.

#Police data shared with the New Straits Times showed that 193 people attempted #suicide in 2016, which rose to 256 in 2017, 261 in 2018, 241 in 2019, 223 in 2020 and 312 in 2021.

Of the 312 attempted suicides reported in 2021, 67.9 per cent or 212 were #male and 32.1 per cent or 100 #female.

More than half of the cases in 2021 (60.3 per cent) involved #adults aged 19 to 40 with 188 cases (131 #male and 57 #female).

While 103 #suicideattempts were recorded among those aged 41 and above (75 #male and 28 #female) and the remaining 21 cases involved #adolescents aged 18 and below (six #male and 15 #female).

The highest number of #suicideattempt incidents have been recorded among people in the 19 to 40 age group since 2016.

A significant increase in attempted #suicide was also reported among those aged 41 and above, where cases spiked by 151 per cent from 41 in 2016 to 103 in 2021.

Among the reasons behind the attempted suicides in 2021 were emotional pressure (88 cases or 28.2 per cent), #mentalillness (27 or 8.7 per cent), financial constraints (22 or 7.1 per cent), drug abuse (13 or 4.2 per cent) and illness (seven or 2.1 per cent).

The remaining 155 people (49.7 per cent) who attempted #suicide had cited various other reasons.

By state, Johor recorded the highest number of attempted #suicide last year (2021) with 49 cases, followed by Selangor (48), Sarawak (41), Kuala Lumpur (33), Penang (32), Sabah (22), Perak (19), Kedah (19), Pahang (14), Negri Sembilan (12), Terengganu (nine), Kelantan (five), Perlis (five), and Melaka (four).

According to #police data, people who attempted #suicide resorted to self-harm (101 cases), consuming poison (97), jumping from height (71), hanging (31), self-immolation (seven), drowning (three) and deliberate exposure to motor vehicle exhaust gas (two).

By #race, the highest number of attempted #suicide in 2021 were reported among the Malay community (84 cases or 26.9 per cent), followed by #Chinese (71 or 22.8 per cent), #Indian (66 or 21.2 per cent), foreigners (49 or 15.7 per cent) and others (42 or 13.5 per cent).

In 2016, the figures stood at 57 cases among the Malay community, 46 #Chinese, 45 #Indian, 24 foreigners and 21 others.

The Malaysian Psychiatric Association committee member Dr Mohd Fadzli Isa said companies should be mandated to have in-house #mentalhealth personnel to support employees’ #mentalhealth.

However, he said it is not necessary for employers to have in-house #counsellors or clinical #psychologists as company employees themselves could be exposed and trained as #mentalhealth ambassadors.

“They will be able to deliver #mentalhealth first aid including being a person that can listen and direct troubled colleagues towards proper #mentalhealth assessment.

“Trained employees in #mentalhealth can help the company create a safe physical space/environment in the company for troubled colleagues to come forward with their #mentalhealthissues.

“This will help promote #mentalhealth as an important component of health, reduce shame, fear, disgrace, #stigma and discrimination towards #mentalhealth,” he told the New Straits Times.

Dr Mohd Fadzli said based on observation, psychiatric clinics have been seeing an increase in people coming in with symptoms of #depression, #anxiety and serious #mentalillness over the years.

#Mentalillness varies in severity but even mild severity of #mentalillness could have an impact on daily functioning to a certain degree, he explained.

“#Mentalillness together with #suicide have multiple contributing factors that tend to correlate and produce the illness or cause #suicide and #suicidalthoughts.

“These contributing factors can be divided into biological (presence of active #mentalillness symptoms and hereditary/genetic contributions), psychological (poor coping skills and poor problem-solving skills) and social factors (unemployment, lack of proper accommodation, lack of access to basic needs, and poor social support).”

He said primary prevention would be the basic step towards addressing this, which include creating awareness and organising campaigns for the general population.

This can be followed up with #mentalhealthprograms for the targeted group, he said.

“The medium of approach for these programmes must be tailored to the targeted population and organised according to availability of recent technology and trends.

“Additionally, Malaysians must be able to access #mentalhealthservices easily either at the primary care level or at the specialist setting.

“Besides, #mentalhealthservices in the government and private sector must be prioritised both in terms of human resource, facilities and infrastructure and also financially.

“Finally, there should be wide options for medications and non-pharmacological interventions available in both government and private sectors to cater for individualised treatment approach.”

Dr Mohd Fadzli said following this, community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations should be made more visible and useful in terms of advocacy and support for people suffering from #mentalillness.

Anybody suffering from #mentalhealthissues should be helped to get a proper assessment and they should not be judged as being weak when trying to access #mentalhealthservices, he said.

“People with #mentalhealthissues should not minimise their experience and should refrain from self-treating or self-medicating themselves.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Order your copy of James Donaldson’s latest book,

Celebrating Your Gift of Life:

From The Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy


“We must remember that #mentalillness is real and it can happen to anyone. #Mentalhealthissues, however, should not be used as escapism or as a medium to gain popularity or sympathy.”

He further noted that a more accurate data collection and reporting system should be executed in collaboration with the forensic medicine service, forensic psychiatric service and the #police.

“A database of #suicide in Malaysia is urgently needed to accurately describe the aspect of #suicide in the country.”

It was previously reported that police have recorded 468 suicides from Jan to May 2021, compared to the annual total of 631 in 2020, and 609 in 2019.”

Police noted that the three main causes cited were family problems, emotional pressure and financial constraints.

Meanwhile, Befrienders Kuala Lumpur recorded 20,575 calls from January to June 2021, compared to 32,710 from Jan to Dec 2020.

If you are feeling depressed or stressed, know that help is available. All you have to do is reach out. The Befrienders is an example of a place you can call if you have #suicidalthoughts or feeling overwhelmed. They provide emotional support 24/7. For more info, visit www.befrienders.org.my or contact 03-76272929.

You can also contact Talian Kasih at 15999 (24/7), BuddyBear Helpline at 1800-18-2327 (BEAR) (daily 12pm to 12am), #MentalIllnessAwareness & Support Association (MIASA) at 1-800-820 066 (24/7), and the Health Ministry – Mercy Malaysia Psychosocial Support Helpline at 03-2935 9935.


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