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aws试用账号(www.2km.me)_No time to die; shaken and stirred

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LAST week, somebody whom I know took her own life.

She was young and had the whole world at her feet. Yet, she chose to shoot an own goal.

I was shaken. The incident stirred up a lot of different emotions in me. Here I was, part of a prominent, active and efficient mental health coalition and chairman of its focus group on decriminalisation of attempted suicides and yet, I could not protect someone within arm’s reach!

How did she slip through the net into the vast expanse of silence and darkness? Could somebody, anybody have helped her?

This person had chosen an almost foolproof way to die. Can you even imagine the agony she must have gone through while meticulously planning to end it all? Like planning to kill the enemy within whilst ensuring there were no losers.

Statistics from the police show that between January and May, 468 people committed suicide in Malaysia. That is three people daily!

Extrapolating that figure, we stand to lose around 1,125 people this year, almost double the 631 we lost in 2020.

What many Malaysian may not be aware of is that for every completed suicide, there are as many as 20 attempted ones! That’s 22,500 attempted suicides in Malaysia this year. Just a few thousand short of the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country so far.

For all the havoc that the pandemic has wrecked upon us, Covid-19 has also brought Malaysians together like never before.

The affection, care and concern that Malaysians have bestowed upon each other irrespective of race, religion and socio-economic status is one of the standout takeaways from our war against Covid-19.

We need that same passion, same commitment, same empathy and that same willingness to lend a helping hand if we are to reduce the number of suicides in Malaysia.

Suicide is a complex phenomenon with multiple risk factors and triggers. The most important, however, is pre-existing mental illness.

Even today, the public perceptions and attitudes towards mental illness can certainly improve.

There needs to be no stigma attached to being mentally unwell.

How often have we seen people react with “so sad” or “how unfortunate” to a diagnosis of cancer, stroke or heart disease, and the same person say “oh! mental!” or “send laa to Tanjung Rambutan!” to a diagnosis of severe depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Come on, we can be better.

As of today, attempted suicides are a crime in Malaysia, liable to be charged under section 309 of the penal code, with punishments of up to a year of imprisonment, fine or both.

Only Myanmar and Brunei in Asean have similar laws. Dedicated attempts by a multitude of passionate groups over the past decade have, however, made significant inroads into the understanding of the reasons for attempting suicides and the fact that these individuals need urgent medical attention rather than possible detention.

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