KUCHING: The ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry is mulling on suicide prevention strategy for the state.

Its minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said such a move is essential due to the alarming trend in cases of people who committed suicide recently.

“Studies by Befrienders Kuching found there is greater tendency for a person to commit suicide due to isolation.

“They might feel a sense of hopelessness and continuously grieving over a broken relationship or facing challenges in financial or health issues," she said in her keynote address at a Mental Health Awareness forum held in Nu Hotel, Bintulu recently.

Fatimah noted that globally, about 800,000 people lost their lives due to suicide every year. This means, one suicide case occurs in every 40 seconds.

Fatimah Abdullah

“Statistics from Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) found that a total of 159 men and 34 women committed suicide in Sarawak from 2016 to September 2019.

“Miri and Sibu recorded the highest number of cases, at 73 and 25 cases respectively. The trend is increasing and it is certainly worrying," she added, while urging all social institutions to play a role in advocating mental health.

“When someone loses their beloved ones, we must be there to accompany those who are grieving.

“Across our faith we gather around and support the aggrieved and we must do this even more so for those who have lost someone in tragic circumstances."

Fatimah noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had come up with its Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 which was adopted by the World Health Assembly. The action plan described suicide prevention as an important priority for achieving the global target of reducing suicide by 10 per cent in 2020.

In highlighting that suicide was a serious public health problem worldwide, the minister said appropriate efforts must be able to reach out to the masses to ensure suicides can be prevented.

“To do this we need to educate ourselves on the signs and know how to respond.

“In fact, what we need to do now is to develop our own suicide prevention strategy that is multi-sectoral, involving not only the health sector but also sectors such as education, labour, social welfare, agriculture, business, justice, law, defence, politics and the media," she stressed.

>Sources: New Sarawak Tribune