The Chinese community has been hit hardest by the rise in suicides in Malaysia.
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The Chinese community has been hit hardest by the rise in suicides in Malaysia.

Suicide rates in Malaysia The number has risen sharply in recent years, with 4,440 Malaysians taking their own lives since 2019, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister told parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Tuesday that men in Malaysia are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.

“The number of suicides has increased dramatically, especially since 2021, with almost or more than 1,000 cases recorded per year,” he said in a statement after chairing a meeting of the National Social Council.

“In 2019, there were 609 cases, in 2020 621, in 2021 1,142, in 2022 981 and last year 1,087.”

Ahmad Zahid said most of the suicides were among men (over 3,600 cases), while over 780 were among women. He added that there was concern that the Chinese community was recording the highest number of suicides annually since 2019.

There is no doubt that the country is currently experiencing drastic social and economic changes.

Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

He added that over the past five years, the suicide rate among foreigners was second, followed by Indians and Malaysians.

“There is no doubt that the country is currently going through drastic social and economic changes,” said Ahmad Zahid.

“(This is) due to the emergence of various new trends such as demographic changes, urbanization, digital innovation, economic inequality, changing global economic power and global hyperconnectivity,” he said.

“This shift has resulted in significant changes in social behavior, cultural changes, and behavioral changes, as well as a dynamic shift in family institutions and society as a whole.”

The Chinese community has been hit hardest by the rise in suicides in Malaysia.
Morning commuters prepare to board a train in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month. Photo: Bloomberg

The Deputy Prime Minister said this showed “a significant need for radical and rapid changes in our approach to social policy to keep up”.

The Malaysian National Mental Health Crisis Line, or HEAL Line 15555 (Help with Empathy and Love), has received over 48,900 calls from October 2022 to June this year, Ahmad Zahid revealed.

Of these calls, a total of 28,870 received emotional support, while 20,030 included specific interventions such as psychoeducation, positive coping skills, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or know someone who is, you can get help. In Hong Kong, you can call 18111 for the government-run mental health support hotline. You can also call +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the United States, call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org to access the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. For a list of hotlines in other countries, see this page.
This article was first published by Star