Health DG Says MOH Supports The Decriminalisation Of Suicide In Malaysia

The ministry released the statement in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day today, 10 September.

Cover image via Bernama/Berita Harian & pikisuperstar/Freepik

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for our latest stories and breaking news.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has shown its support for the decriminalisation of suicide in Malaysia in conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated on 10 September every year.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said decriminalising suicide would encourage those struggling with mental health issues to step forward and seek help.

The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has led to mental anguish among people around the world, including Malaysians.

"As of July 2021, the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) reported 638 suicide cases this year, compared to 262 for the same time frame (January to July) in 2020, which is 143% or 1.4 times more," he wrote in a statement today.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), he added, for each life lost to suicide, an estimated 135 additional family members and friends suffer from its emotional, social, and economic impact.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via New Straits Times

The global theme of this year's World Suicide Prevention Day is "creating hope through action"

With respect to the theme, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry will undertake several initiatives to prevent more incidents of suicide and eradicate stigma surrounding suicidal tendencies and behaviour.

"Suicidal behaviour includes suicidal ideation, suicidal planning, suicide attempts, and death due to suicide," he said.

Among MOH's initiatives will be:

- To reinforce and extend access to mental health and psychosocial support services, such as through MOH's Psychosocial Support Helpline and to increase the number of counsellors in district clinics.

- To support the amendment or revocation of Section 309 of the Penal Code that declares suicide attempts as a crime.

- To advocate the 'Let's TALK Minda Sihat' awareness campaign that focuses on target groups and the larger public through mass media and social media.

- To train first-line responders to hone skills and care in handling suicide casessuch as healthcare workers, firefighters, and the police.

- To step up engagement with other ministries and non-governmental agencies to curb suicides as a society.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via The Straits Times

Dr Noor Hisham also advised the public to play their part in taking care of their mental health and preventing suicides

He said simple gestures can make a difference, such as:

- Checking in on family members and people around you.

- Giving support and encouragement to those seeking help and mental health treatment, especially after a crisis.

- Avoid circulating news, videos, or photos related to suicide incidents on social media.

- Stopping negative stigma towards close ones with mental illness, and to not pass quick judgement on those displaying suicidal behaviour.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

If you or anyone you know is lonely, distressed, or having negative thoughts, please call these Malaysian hotlines:

Contact: +603-76272929
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Contact: 15999
WhatsApp: +6019-2615999
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook 

Daily (12pm - 12am)
Contact: 1800-18-2327
Email: [email protected]
Facebook | Instagram

For a more thorough directory of resources, head over to the websites of Malaysian Mental Health Association or MINDAKAMI.

Malaysians have long called for the decriminalisation of suicide to end the stigma of mental health:

The pandemic has mentally impacted people across all levels of society:

If you wish to talk to professionals in person or online, check these out:

You may be interested in: