Experts have claimed that urbanites are more prone to suicidal tendencies – specifically teenagers and those who are facing financial issues.
Dr Andrew Mohanraj, Deputy President, The Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA), says that it is possible to draw parallels between the increase in the country’s suicide rate and “unacknowledged mental health problems, notably depression”, among risk groups living in urban areas. He added that non-governmental organisations, government clinics and hospitals that provided counselling and treatment for people with mental health problems were also overwhelmed with patients.
Sense of hopelessness from economic hardship, financial distress, stress from exams and overall academic performance is piling up the overall pressure on teens as well as other urbanites and these are the main causes of suicides. This factor, he said, was the most important component in the prevention of suicide attempts.
“People in crisis who are contemplating to attempt suicide want to reach out to people who will listen to them and are able to provide non-judgmental advice,” he said, adding that attempting suicide was a means of conveying a message.
“It is to reintegrate the patients into the community. Having a strong supportive environment with family and friends around the patients can help them move on from mental health problems.” He said the biggest obstacle to treating mental health was stigma.
“A supportive community reduces the barrier in getting professional help and acknowledging mental health problem is vital for treatment and recovery.”
Under this plan, the Health Ministry also intended to target a three-fold increase in the ratio of psychiatrists to the population, from the current 1:150,000 to the ideal of 1:50,000. According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, the prevalence of mental health problems among adults showed an increasing trend, from 10.7 per cent in 1996 to 29.2 per cent in 2015. Last year, 425 suicide cases were reported in the country with hanging being the most common method. Individuals involved in the cases were reported to have emotional and work problems.