Miri records highest number of suicide cases in Sarawak since 2016

Fatimah speaking about mental health during her winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly today (Nov 12, 2019) as seen in this photo of an in-house broadcast. .

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Nov 12: A total of 193 suicide cases have been recorded in Sarawak since 2016, with Miri notching the highest occurrences (72 cases) followed by Sibu (25 cases).

Revealing the statistics obtained from the police, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said 46 cases were recorded each in 2016 and 2017, while there were 46 cases in 2018 and 55 cases as of September this year.

“The findings of the National Health and Morbidity Study (NHMS) in 2017 showed that there is an increase from 2012 to 2017 in the prevalence of being lonely and the inability to sleep due to worry among secondary school students in Sarawak.

“This study also discovered that during the same period of time, there is a rising trend amongst youth between the ages of 13 and 17 in suicidal ideation, suicidal planning, and suicidal attempts,” Fatimah said in her winding up speech in the State Legislative Assembly today.

To address this concern, the ministry organised a workshop to develop a Mental Health Management Framework for Sarawak in March.

The workshop included defining Terms of Reference (TOR), guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs), advocacy and social intervention programmes.

“Together with the ministry’s strategic partners such as Hospital Sentosa, Mental Health Association and Befrienders Kuching, to date, we have conducted two sessions of Wacana Bestari, to provide awareness and advocacy on mental (health) issues in Sarawak.

“Mental health awareness, advocacy and screening were also included in the ministry’s Randau Pembangunan Sosial programmes in rural areas, where the prevalence of mental health issues is stated as the highest in the country, at 35.8 per cent by the NHMS in 2017,” she added.

Fatimah acknowledged that the complex nature of issues related to mental health occurrences in Sarawak warrant it to be addressed in an integrated manner.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. — DayakDaily