A COMMUNITY outreach programme to address depression and suicide was held at Befrienders Ipoh centre.
It was aimed at creating awareness on the matter and to help reduce the risk of suicide in the community.
It also served as a platform for mental health practitioners, caregivers, volunteers from other non-governmental organisations and other like-minded people to gather, network and share information related to suicide prevention.
The programme was opened by Perak Women Development Department director S Kavaramma.
Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun consultant psychiatrist Dr Loo Tsui Huei presented a talk on “Depression and Suicide” while Befrienders Ipoh vice-chairman Mabel Wong talked about voluntary work at the Befrienders.
There were also question and answer sessions after each presentation.
Wong said suicide was a complex issue that involved a variety of psychological, biological, social, culture and environmental factors.
“Researches have repeatedly shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and conversely, that having strong human bonds can protect against it.
“We are a non-profit, voluntary service organisation that provides free and confidential emotional support to those who are suicidal, depressed or in despair since 1976.
“The service is provided by trained volunteers via telephone and those in need of help can call us,” she added.
Wong said statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated that over 800,000 people die from suicide every year.
“The number of lives lost through suicide exceed the number of deaths due to homicide, terrorist acts and war combined.
“WHO has designated Sept 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day,” she said.
Wong added that in the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017, 5,581 or 18.3% out of 30,496 students aged between 13 and 17 years were depressed.
“It is expected to be the second biggest health problem affecting Malaysians after heart disease by 2020,” she said.
Befrienders Ipoh operates from 4pm to 11pm daily.
Their hotline numbers are 05-547 7933 and 05-547 7955.
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