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Recognise warning signs of suicide which are preventable - Befrienders

23rd November, 2020


KOTA KINABALU: Concerned with the rising number of suicide cases especially in Kota Kinabalu recently, Befrienders have called on communities to be aware of the warning signs of suicidal intention and behavioural cues and anyone with risk factors to prevent further loss of life.

“Suicide is preventable and prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously,” Befrienders Kota Kinabalu publicity director, Jessie Ting said in a statement.

“The warning signs among others are having feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, prolong depression, loss of interest in things one cares about, drastic change in behaviour, withdrawal, looking for ways for suicide, talking about life has lost its meaning, isolation, making arrangements of their personal belongings, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, buying and keeping suicidal means such as medicines, charcoal, rope and pesticides.

“It is an undeniable fact that the current COVID-19 pandemic has added more uncertainties to the future and worsens various stressors to suicide.

“Befrienders would like to encourage everyone in societies and communities to observe the warning signs, the importance of communication and family support during these times,” she said.

According to Jessie, when a suicide happened, it is either all support system failed or the individuals died by suicide did not reach out or know that help is available.

“There is no single factor that caused a person attempts or dies by suicide.

“When a person ended his/her life, it impacted family members, friends, communities, and societies. Even though suicide is illegal in Malaysia and taboo, people still die by suicide,” Jessie said.

“Families lost part of their life when their loved ones died, many more are affected and society lost the most valuable resources.

Jessie added that callers to Befrienders’ helplines since March to November, among others, are from individuals with loss of income, loss of job, financial difficulties, family breaking-up, difficulties to continue their education, feeling sense of isolation due to movements control orders, loneliness, lack of social support and individuals suffering from severe depression or mental illness.

“About 30% of the 1,375 calls received from the period of March – October 2020 were from callers having suicidal tendencies and loss of hope in living.

“Befrienders understood that it can be difficult to talk about suicide or approach someone who might be suicidal.

“Research shows that talking and listening to someone can have positive influence on someone who may be considering suicide, it is important that they be connected to helplines especially the Befrienders, registered and licensed counsellors or community mental health centre,” she said.

“Giving them support and guidance to seek help and not stigmatising them are important to a suicidal person.

“Befrienders encourage individuals to contact us and talk to us before they take the decision to end their life, give us a chance to hear you,” Jessie said adding that all contacts to Befrienders are treated with strict confidentiality and not recorded.

“Individuals calling Befrienders’ helplines at any nine Befrienders’ centres in Malaysia are toll free.

“Those who are having difficulties in calling may also contact us via texting our WhatsApp line, internet one to one chat by direct messaging in Facebook or emailing us.

Earlier in June 2020, Befrienders also launched our Help App https://www.help.befrienders.org,” she said.

“This Help App provides information regarding emotional support. It will automatically help user find the nearest help centre and can run on mobile phones and desktop.

“The Help App not only connects user to the nearest help centre, it also provides advice to users on helping themselves, advising users on how to help others, provide recommendation to users coping with isolation.

“During CMCO, Befrienders’ trained volunteers are available at 016-8036945 (WhatsApp chat) internet one to one chat thru Facebook Messenger or email befrienderskk@gmail.com,” Jessie said.

Other Befrienders’ centres are KL 03-76272929 (24 hours), Penang 04-2815161, and Johor Bahru 07-3312300.

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