There is no single cause of suicide and it often happens when stressors exceeds a person’s capacity to cope, and the person feels helpless and hopeless about the future.
SUICIDE IS SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE WORLD.
Malaysia has struggled to collect reliable data on attempted and completed suicides in Malaysia (Maniam, 1995). The National Suicide Registry Malaysia (NSRM) published their last report in 2009 which shows a rate of 1.3 per 100,000. Experts agree that this figure underestimates the actual rate due to underreporting by police and family members.
One of the main reasons for the lack of accurate and reliable data is that there is an omission of notification to the Registry. Although the law mandates that all cases of “sudden death” must be fully investigated, the discretion lies with the attending police officer. Medical officers may also fail to notify due to their unfamiliarity with the ICD reporting system. In addition, there is a stigma associated with suicide, as some consider it as sinful and shameful. It is also considered a crime to commit suicide or to abet another to commit suicide under the Penal Code (Act 574). These factors have led to the systematic under-reporting of both completed and attempted suicides.
A recent study placed the figure at 6 - 8 % per 100,000 individuals per year, and the Ministry of Health has estimated that the rate could be as high as 10-13% per 100,000 individuals. The number of suicide attempts are at least 15 times more than the number of completed suicides. The most popular methods in Malaysia of suicide is by hanging, poisoning (by pesticides), jumping off a tall building and poisoning by car exhaust gas.
This means 10 per 100 000 people commit suicide everyday.
Ethnic Indians, men and individuals under age 40 are at high risk of completed suicide. Other risk factors (things that make it more likely that someone would take their life) include experiencing a significant negative life event, physical and/or mental illness, past suicide attempts, and family history of suicide and mental illness.
About 1 in 3 individuals who commit suicide expressed their suicide intentions verbally or through writing. This means that at least 30% of completed suicides gave some sort of warning of their plans and could have been helped prior to the suicide.
Suicide ideation is when a person has thoughts about suicide and is considered a risk factor for attempting suicide. The National Health and Comorbidity Study conducted in 2011 showed that suicidal ideation is highest among individuals aged 16 to 24 years. This age group is also most likely to have a suicide plan and to attempt suicide. Other risk factors for attempting suicide include living in an urban area, being female, and being an ethnic Malay.
The prevalence rate of attempted suicide in Malaysia is 6.3 per 100 000 people or 250 people a day.
1. Share The Love.
Let your friend know that you care for them and that you would like to help them.
Be direct and open about suicide.
Listen and accept their feelings.
Don’t correct or judge their thoughts and feelings.
Don’t promise not to tell anyone. This prevents you and your loved one from seeking support.
2. Ask About Their Plan.
Contrary to popular opinion, asking someone about their suicide intentions or plans does not increase the chances of suicide happening. Rather, bringing it up can help the person feel safe enough to talk about their feelings and thoughts and get help.
How much have they been thinking about suicide?
Do they have a specific plan on how to commit suicide?
Do they intend to carry out the plan?
The more frequent and intense the suicide ideation, and the more specific the plan is, the higher the risk the individual is going to commit suicide.
3. Take Action.
Explore other options other than suicide.
Talk about their reasons to live vs. to die. Highlight what there is to live for.
If possible, remove their means of committing suicide (e.g. pesticides).
Sign a no-suicide contract.
Don’t assume that they will get better without help or that they will seek help on their own.
4. Get Help.
Make an appointment with a medical health professional (GP, Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Counsellor) and offer to go along.
If the risk is imminent, go to the Emergency Room (UM or HUKM). Private hospitals in Malaysia do not handle suicide emergency cases.
It is emotionally draining to provide care for someone who is suffering from mental health problems, and/or suicidal.
You can only give as much care as you are cared for. Find someone to talk things over with.
Strength is not in bearing the burden alone, but in bearing the burden together. For yourself and for your loved one.