411 suicide attempts from March 2020 till Aug this year, Dewan Rakyat told

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 411 suicide attempts has been recorded since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced in March last year, says the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

The ministry said based on data from the Home Ministry, there were 190 suicide attempts from March until December last year, and another 221 from January to August this year.

In a parliamentary written reply dated Sept 20 (Monday), the ministry, through the Welfare Department (JKM), has handled a total of 1,578 domestic abuse cases across the country since March last year, involving 1,432 women and 146 men.

The figure was provided in response to Su Keong Siong (PH-Kampar), who asked the ministry to state figures and statistics in regards to suicide attempts and domestic violence since the MCO began.

Su also asked about the government's plans in addressing rising suicide attempts and domestic violence across the country.

The ministry said it viewed seriously the rising mental health crisis in society, and its studies have found that social support is the best mechanism to address those who are suffering in silence due to the pandemic.

It said Malaysians can seek help through its Talian Kasih 15999 or they could send them a WhatsApp message at 019-261 5999. Both services are operating 24 hours.

"Both lines function as a single point of contact for the people to ask any questions, channel any complaints or seek help.

"Talian Kasih covers various aspects in regards to abuse, counselling, homelessness, protection, welfare, children, reproductive health services, teenage social problems and issues involving targeted groups," it said.

The ministry also said there is an online psychology support service to assist those who are mentally affected by the pandemic.

"This special line involves 250 volunteers who are registered under the Malaysian Counsellors Board."

For the elderly, the ministry said social support is provided in the form of Home Help Services, where volunteers will reach out to senior citizens throughout the pandemic.

In addition, the ministry said it has 2,076 volunteers under Squad Waja to provide psychosocial activities in the community.

"From January until Aug 31 this year, 430 cases have been successfully counselled by these volunteers.

"Among the cases were sexual abuse, rape, molestation and cybercrimes."

There has been a rise in mental health issues following the pandemic.

In conjunction with the recent World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin reminded those who are battling depression and anxiety that they are not alone.

Those suffering from problems can reach out to the Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service at 03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392; Talian Kasih at 15999 or 019-261 5999; Jakim’s (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) family, social and community care centre at 0111-959 8214; and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur at 03-7627 2929 or go to befrienders.org.my/centre-in-malaysia for a full list of numbers nationwide and operating hours, or email sam@befrienders.org.my.

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