#kerajaangagal185 – With Covid-19 pandemic causing unprecedented spiral of suicides, call on Prime Minister to announce that the government will decriminalise suicide attempts and until the law is amended, no one will be prosecuted for attempted suicide
With the Covid-19 pandemic causing unprecedented spiral of suicides, I call on Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin to announce that the government will decriminalise suicide attempts and until the law is amended, no one will be prosecuted for attempted suicide.
The 18-month long Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unusual rise in suicides – with the police recording 468 suicides in the first five months of 2021, or three suicides a day, as compared to 631 in 2020 and 699 in 2019.
Emotional support help centre Befrienders Kuala Lumpur recorded 20,575 calls from January to June this year, compared to 32,710 for the whole of last year.
When the first lockdown began in March last year, lasting until June, some 9,754 calls were received. This year, a total of 14,136 calls were made to the Befrienders during the same period, marking a 45 per cent surge.
This is the time to decriminalise attempt suicide, which is a crime under the law.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has highlighted the fact that a suicide attempt is not an issue of crime, but a social and health problem with more people facing the symptoms of increased depression and stress, such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability and low mood, which may affect their daily functioning.
While the number of people with mental health issues is rising, Malaysia also faces the problem of shortage of psychiatrists.
Malaysia's psychiatrist-to-patient ratio was only a tenth of the one per 10,000 recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
There are a total of 400 psychiatrists in Malaysia, when there should be 3,100.
Like the problem of contract doctors, decriminalising suicide attempts should be one of the agendas of the Health Minister, Adham Baba at the special meeting of Parliament next week.