KUALA LUMPUR: Loneliness, health and marital issues as well as adapting to new working environment are factors contributing towards stress and suicidal tendencies among the police force, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
The Home Minister said based on an internal study conducted by the police on the mental health of its officers and personnel, several factors that had contributed to suicidal tendencies include stress, health and marital issues marriage, as well as new working environment.
"If we zoom in on the stress factor, among the main causes of depression includes issues adapting to a new working environment, failure to control their own acts, loneliness due to distance from family members, as well as marriage issues," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Aminolhuda Hassan (PH-Pasir Gudang) during Question Time.
Aminolhuda had asked the Home Ministry to state the reasons contributing to stress and affecting the mental health of police personnel.
"At the moment, we have more than 109 counsellors at Bukit Aman, IPKS and IPDs considered as Grade A.
"That is why the police have taken comprehensive action and improved training modules from time to time and revised existing programmes to address such factors," he said.
Saifuddin also noted that the Home Ministry was taking concrete steps based on empirical studies after identifying growing suicidal tendency among officers in the police force.
The Home Minister told the Dewan Rakyat that although the numbers are "small, low and seen as isolated", compared to some 130,000 personnel in the force, the police and the ministry are not taking the issue lightly.
"To be fully honest and transparent, we have to admit that it seems that there is some suicidal tendency among the police force lately which has been detected as early as 2015 and 2016.
"But the way the police and the Home Ministry is taking action before we make our plans, is that we analyse all of the data through proper empirical studies," he said to another supplementary question from Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (Dungun-PN).
Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli had asked the Home Minister to state measures taken to address mental health issues among police, especially those who are holding firearms.
Saifuddin revealed that between 2014 and 2018, there were a total of seven suicide cases among the police force.
"And just within this year, there is one case which can be described as a high profile case, where it involved a murder of a wife as well as a case involving a personnel who had shot himself.
"That is why we look at all aspects before allowing a police officer to carry firearms," he said.
Those suffering from problems 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 visit www.befrienders.org.my/centre-in-malaysia for a full list of numbers and operating hours).