PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The Attorney General's Chambers has been instructed to study a suggestion to decriminalise attempted suicide, as spelt out in the Penal Code.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, in a statement Thursday (June 13), said that the decision was made after chairing a mental health meeting.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister added that October has been designated as mental health awareness month. A campaign to remove the stigma attached to mental health issues was also decided on.
Among the other considerations in the meeting was to exempt phone charges to the Talian Kasih 15999 and the Befrienders lines.
Dr Wan Azizah said an incident last month where a 16-year-old girl committed suicide after 69% of her instagram followers voted 'death' in an opinion poll she posted showed that thre was a need to increase awareness about mental health.
"It showed the negative influence and negative effect social media has on the young generation," she said.
Meanwhile, she noted that the National Health and Morbidity Survey conducted by the Health Ministry in 2015 found that the prevalence of mental health problems among those aged 16 and above was 29.2% or three times higher, from 10.7% in 1996.
"In 2017, a similar survey focusing on students aged 13 to 17 found the prevalence of idea to commit suicide to be 10% compared to 7.9% in 2012; this is a worrying development and a holistic approach is required to address the situation," she said.
Dr Wan Azizah further noted that depression was the main mental disability among Malaysians, and that mental illness could cost the country US$25.3bil (RM105.47bil) economically in 2030. – Bernama