Thursday July 12, 2012
Vanguards to curb rise in suicide cases
KUALA TERENGGANU: The Health Ministry is committed towards tackling the problem of the rise in suicide rate in Malaysia through various initiatives, including increasing the number of family health specialists nationwide.
Its Deputy Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the specialists would be the vanguard in curbing cases of suicides, whereby they would assess whether a patient is suffering from symptoms of mental illness such as depression.
“Almost all the health clinics in the country should have such a specialist.
“Their main task is to access the patients and if need be, the patient will be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist,” she told pressmen after launching the Kuala Terengganu Umno Puteri meeting here recently.
She explained that specialists have an important part to play as they would have a chance to detect cases of mental illness early.
“More than 1,000 people have taken their own lives between 2007 and 2010.
“The ratio of suicides from 2007 to 2010 was 1.3 for every 100,000 people,” she said.
Of the 1,156 people who committed suicide over the three-year period, majority were aged between 24 and 44.
Rosnah said the Ministry had also formed the Mental Health Council to address the issue of mental health and suicides even further.
“The council has come up with guidelines on how to detect if someone is suffering from mental illness as well as actions that should be taken.
“The Ministry has also conducted programmes, which focused solely on mental health through focus segment of the public such as workers, youth and even students,” she said.
She added the Ministry was also conducting studies to reduce the level of stress especially in the workplace.