Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: The State Legislative Assembly was told today that there is an increase in the number of teenagers in Sarawak with thoughts of suicide.

Citing the National Health and Morbidity Study 2017, Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said there was a rising trend of youths between the ages of 13 and 17 who displayed suicidal ideation from 7.5 per cent in 2012 to 10.9 per cent in 2017, planning (6 per cent to 7.9 per cent) and attempts (7.2 per cent to 8.8 per cent).

She also said there was an increase of prevalence of being lonely to 10.1 per cent in 2017 from 7.3 per cent in 2012 and inability of sleep due to worry from 5.2 per cent to 7.7 per cent in the same period among secondary school students in Sarawak.

To address this concern, Fatimah said in her winding up speech that her ministry had organised a workshop to develop a mental health management framework for Sarawak, which would include terms of reference, guideline, standard operating procedures, advocacy and social intervention programmes.

“Mental health awareness, advocacy and screening in the rural areas, where the prevalence of mental health issues is stated as the highest in the country by the National Health and Morbidity Study 2107, at 35.8 per cent," she said.

Fatimah also told the august House a total of 193 suicide cases have been recorded in Sarawak from 2016 to September this year.

She said there were 55 cases in the first nine months of this year alone, while 2016, 2017 and 2018 each recorded 46 cases.

Citing police statistics, Fatimah said that Miri and Sibu recorded the most cases with 73 and 25 cases respectively. She also said men constituted 159 of the total number of cases.

“The complex nature of issues related to mental health occurrences in Sarawak warrant it to be addressed in an integrated manner," she said.

>Sources: Borneo Post Online