KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Police recorded 468 suicide cases in Malaysia in the first five months this year, up from an annual total of 631 cases in 2020 and 609 in 2019.
This means three deaths by suicide occurred nationwide daily on average this year up to May — amid economically devastating lockdowns as the Covid-19 epidemic surged — almost double the 1.7 rate last year and in 2019.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department (CID) director Abdul Jalil Hassan, in a statement today said of the 1,708 cumulative deaths by suicide reported from 2019 until May this year, 83.5 per cent of victims, or 1,427, were female, while the remaining 16.5 per cent (281 victims) were male.
More than half of the 1,708 victims were aged between 15 and 18 years with 872 cases, while 668 victims were aged 19 to 40. A total of 168 victims were aged above 40. The three main reasons behind the suicide rates were troubled family relationships, emotional pressure, and financial constraints, Abdul Jalil said.
By state, Johor recorded the highest number of suicides in 2019 and 2020 with 101 cases, while Selangor registered the most cases this year as of May with 117 cases.
“Based on the suicide trend that is happening, we request that all members of the community play a significant role in suicide prevention. Individuals with problems related to their finances, health, emotional wellbeing, family and those struggling with depression, should receive support from their closest family and friends,” Abdul Jalil said.
CodeBlue reported last year that suicidal behaviour has risen among Malaysian adolescents, based on a Ministry of Health (MOH) survey, with 10 per cent of 13-year-olds having tried to kill themselves.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) in 2017 found that suicidal ideation among Malaysian teens increased from 7.9 per cent in 2012 to 10 per cent in 2017.
The survey showed that suicidal behaviour was highest among 13-year-old Form 1 students, with suicidal ideation at 11.2 per cent, suicidal attempts (10.1 per cent), and suicidal plans (9 per cent).
Teenage girls suffered higher rates of suicidal behaviours than boys, reporting suicidal ideation at 10.8 per cent compared to boys’ 9.1 per cent. More girls also planned suicide, at 7.8 per cent, compared to 6.8 per cent of boys. But slightly more boys engaged in suicidal attempts at 7 per cent, compared to girls at 6.9 per cent.
In 2019, the NHMS survey found that 424,000 children had mental health problems in Malaysia, with problems involving peers identified as the biggest contributor at 42.9 per cent. It also noted that about half a million adults, or 2.3 per cent of the population, suffered from depression.
Individuals seeking emotional support can call the Befrienders Kuala Lumpur hotline at 03 7627 2929 or email [email protected].