Suicide cases expected to rise

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah speaking at a press conference. Also seen are Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Chief SAC Lucas Aket (left) and Community Wellbeing Assistant Minister Datuk Francis Harden (third left). Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Suicide cases and attempted suicide cases are expected to rise this year, said Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief SAC Lukas Aket.

He explained that the cases were due to depression, broken hearts, financial difficulties, family issues, mental health issues and other reasons.

“From January to June this year, the department recorded a total of 37 suicide cases involving 31 men and six women.

Sarawak CID chief SAC Lukas Aket

“Last year, from January to December, the department only recorded a total of 49 suicide cases involving 38 men and 11 women.

“Twenty-seven attempted suicide cases, involving 16 men and 11 women, were recorded from January to June this year.

“Last year, from January to December, only 24 attempted suicide cases involving 13 men and 11 women were recorded,” he told the media after paying a courtesy call on Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah at Baitul Makmur II building yesterday (Aug 3).

Lukas revealed most of the suicide and attempted suicide cases involved men aged 18 years old and above.

Fatimah added that suicide cases were also caused by mental health issues such as stress and anxiety.

“Therefore, to tackle this issue, we have provided a service to those in distress during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My ministry formed the Community CHAT (Counselling, Help at Any Time) in March last year. We want it to be friendly to those who need help and it is provided statewide,” she said.

The minister said communication and language in this counselling service were very important, adding that the counsellors were trained professionals.  

“If the counsellors feel the need for the services of a psychiatrist, the public will be referred to the Sarawak Mental Health Association, the ministry’s strategic partner available in Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

“Once they have gone to the psychiatrist and received counselling, the public will also be referred to life coaches. This is an interesting element because these coaches consist of 40 volunteers from various professional backgrounds, especially motivational experts who provide training and help people to achieve new goals in life,” said Fatimah.