KLANG: The Fire and Rescue Department rushed to a high-rise apartment in Damansara, Petaling Jaya last week to rescue a woman who was dangling her pet dog out of her 14th floor unit’s bedroom window.
According to one of her neighbours, who declined to be named, the 37-year-old woman, who lived with only her two pet dogs, had been behaving strangely for over three weeks.
“She used to scream from her bedroom window a few times a day, and then she started throwing things out from the window," said the neighbour
"First it was some playing cards and CDs and then she started throwing out small pieces of furniture and appliances out of the window," he added.
He said that neighbours then reported this to the apartment management committee as well as the security guards and she was told to stop screaming and throwing things.
The security company also lodged a police report and policemen had visited her twice and asked the woman to stop screaming and throwing things out of the window or risk being arrested.
“The police also said that at least one resident must lodge a police report and only then can they (the police) do something but no one living there wanted to do it,’’ said the neighbour.
Finally, the neighbours became alarmed when a resident from the block opposite the woman’s unit shared a video he had recorded of her dangling her pet Shih Tzu out of the window.
One of the neighbours then contacted an animal welfare group and narrated how the woman was dangling her pet dog out of a 14th-floor window.
After learning that the woman had been behaving strangely, the canine welfare group volunteer put him in touch with the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA).
MMHA executive director Cheong Sue Jen said when the neighbour called her, she advised her to call the emergency line and tell them the woman was showing indications of harming herself.
“One has to be clear when seeking help and it was obvious here that the woman was distressed and may harm herself,’’ said Cheong.
A short while after, the apartment’s management office called the emergency line, a patrol car, a fire engine and an ambulance rushed to the location and the woman was brought out of her apartment and sent to hospital.
“We were told she has been admitted at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for treatment,’’ said the neighbour, adding that the women’s two pet Shih Tzus were being temporarily looked after by another neighbour.
Meanwhile, MMHA president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said the woman’s odd behavior, over the three weeks before she was rescued, could have been due to a combination of factors such as isolation, as well as economic and social stressors leading to her becoming mentally decompensated.
“It could also have been due to exacerbation of a pre-existing mental condition by the current stressful circumstances. Unfortunately, neighbours, security guards and even police did not interpret her odd behaviour as a sign of being mentally unwell,’’ said Dr Mohanraj who is also the president of the Selangor Mental Health Association (SMHA).
He added that there was a need for the public to be aware of suicidal behaviour.
According to Dr Mohanraj, the SMH will be rolling out a Suicide Prevention Awareness Programme in collaboration with Persatuan Green Ribbon Malaysia to resident associations, management committees of high-rise residences and Rukun Tetangga.
He added that with this in place, the public would be able to identify suicidal tendencies and seek appropriate help to prevent untoward incidents from happening.
It has been reported that there was a recent increase in suicides in the country with 468 killing themselves in the first five months of 2021.
Most of them who took their own lives were below the age of 40.
Those in need of help and counseling can reach out to: Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999 or WhatsApp 019-261 5999); Jakim’s Family, Social and Community care centre (WhatsApp 0111-959 8214); and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929 or check out www.befrienders.org.my/centre-in-malaysia for a full list of numbers and operating hours).