Did you know that an average of two Malaysians attempt suicide every day? According to the National Suicide Registry Malaysia (NSRM), a total of 425 people committed suicide in 2009, averaging 60 per month (including undetermined deaths), which nearly equal that of the United States.
What’s alarming is that most people take the suicide threats of friends and loved ones lightly. Recognising the warning signs and reaching out to give emotional support might just save a life.
Here are top ten facts about suicide that everyone should know:
1) Suicidal persons are not simply suffering from a personal weakness – what they have is a mental disorder. Medications and professional counseling is needed, just like someone with any chronic disease.
2) Due to the stigma, suicidal people may not seek medical treatment. Never ignore someone who often jokes about taking his/her own life; it’s a cry for help.
3) Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. They may have been contemplating it for months or years. Daring someone who often talks about taking his/her own life to do it may be the final push for him/her to go ahead with his/her plans.
4) Suicidal rates are higher in people with a family history of suicide, who have just suffered a major loss such as a break-up, death or divorce, are undergoing major depression, have alcohol or drug problems, are unemployed or have attempted suicide before.
5) More men die from suicides than women because the measures used are more violent. Men are also less likely to seek help with their problems as they consider it to be a sign of weakness.
6) In Malaysia, most suicide cases happen between the ages of 15- 30 and 50-75. The younger age group faces a lot of societal pressures and sometimes finds it hard to cope, whereas the elderly group faces problems of loneliness, depression and ageing.
7) The most common suicide methods are hanging, followed by jumping off buildings and exhaust gas poisoning and pesticide poisoning.
8) Watch what your teenage children are viewing online as there is increasing websites and internet chat rooms dedicated to suicide. These sites promote the act of self-destruction and the taking of one’s own life, with detailed descriptions of lethal methods to use and doses of everyday medications that can kill.
9) Suicides are preventable, as most of the risk factors are treatable. If you know someone who might be suicidal, get them to seek help from the psychiatric or counseling units of government hospitals or private medical centres.
10) Every successful suicide affects 20 other people- family members, friends or fellow colleagues. Often these people would feel guilty for not realising that their friend or family member was trying to reach out to them.
Need help? Don’t despair, help is available!
The Befrienders Kuala Lumpur
95 Jalan Templer
46000 Selangor Darul Ehsan
Helpline 1: (03) 7956 8144
Helpline 2: (03) 7956 8145
SPOT THE SIGNS:
- Constantly saying- ‘I can’t go on’, Nothing matters any more’, ‘I want to end it all’
- Becoming withdrawn and depressed
- Behaving recklessly, such as crossing the road without looking or driving carelessly
- A marked change in behaviour, attitudes or appearance, such as not grooming or shaving
- Getting things in order, such as writing a will, and giving away valued possessions
- Erratic mood swings and behaviours, including constant crying, self-mutilation and impulsiveness