I READ Rita Sim's "A cry for help on the brink of suicide" (NST, July 5) with interest and a tinge of sadness. Yes, suicide rates in Malaysia are on the rise and every Malaysian is saddened about it.
Suicide is the act of intentionally and voluntarily taking one's own life. It is sad, but true in modern times, that many suicides take place as a result of one's failure to adjust to life's stresses and strains.
Recently, cases of suicide have been making headlines and many of the victims were young people at their prime, which is tragic and alarming.
Most people who commit suicide are depressed. They find things tough and are unable to cope with the demands of modern living and their own high expectations.
Today, all over the world, teenage suicides are on the rise and it is definitely a frightening problem we can't ignore.
According to the experts, the rise in teenage suicides is due to the increasing complexity and stresses of modern life.
The many violent and sexual movies and reading materials available, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, free sex, news of many high-profile singers, actors and actresses committing suicide -- all have a serious implication on our young people who are emotionally immature. And society's materialistic and selfish culture makes the situation worse.
Many people are blinded by material pursuits and lack human values and direction in life.
Unsatisfied craving or failure to get what they want creates tremendous mental stress and unhappiness.
Many young people are lost and struggle to live in their world of misery and helplessness.
Finding no way out and no one to turn to, suicidal thoughts appear and eventually, they end their lives in a most tragic way to get rid of all their problems and miseries.
Suicides cause great grief and feelings of guilt to the victim's family and friends. No religion condones this act.
It is in this context that I urge all quarters, especially the education, health and information ministries, to work closely to take urgent steps in promoting a positive and healthy lifestyle that stresses on good mental health and balanced living.
Parents and elders must also play their part by not being too demanding on their kids to perform academically and be more understanding towards their children.
The education system, which is too exam- and result-oriented has taken a toll on many people.
We must not turn our sons and daughters into mere tuition and examination machines and in the process, neglect their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical development, which ensures a good, useful, happy and productive human being.
Perhaps, we all can learn a thing or two from Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan Buddhist kingdom.
Despite being a poor country and lacking development, facilities and human resources, it is recognised and accepted as the world's happiest nation in the world.
The Bhutanese have clearly shown to the world that contentment, simplicity, inner peace, moderation, kindness and the ability to live in balance with nature and living life to the fullest are the ingredients for a happy and peaceful living.
We should all take inspiration and delight from them, which would do us good.