IPOH: Perak’s suicide rate is higher than the national average, and the state ranks third in the country for incidents of death by suicide.
State Health director Datuk Juita Ghazalie said about two persons (1.94) for every 100,000 people in Perak kill themselves.
She said the percentage is still much lower than the world's rate of about 11 deaths for every 100,000 people. Nevertheless, to help reduce the number of suicide cases in Perak, the Health Department will hold more awareness programmes in the state
"The government is trying to educate society at large on mental health issues in order to prevent suicide cases.
"Barriers like ignorance, lack of knowledge and stigma need to be broken with the help of the public and non-governmental organisations," she said when launching the World Suicide Prevention Day and World Mental Health Day 2016 here today.
The event was jointly-organised by the state Health Department, Psychiatric Department of the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun and Fatimah Hospital Ipoh.
Dr Juita said mental health should not be taken for granted because mental illness could lead to suicide.
"If any of your children shows abnormal behaviour, like hiding under the table when guests come to the house, talking to themselves, or showing aggressive behaviour, do not hesitate to take them to a psychiatric clinic for screening," she said.
Dr Juita said statistics show that the prevalence of mental illness among adults in Malaysia increased to 29 per cent last year, compared to 11 per cent in 2006.
If left unattended, she said mental disorders like depression, anxiety and stress could lead to suicide, especially among adolescents.
Dr Juita said the average suicide victim in the country ranges in age from 14 to 94.
"Victims usually show signs, or will tell you that they will commit suicide before it actually happens. Therefore, family members should not neglect them," she said.
Most suicide cases occur at home (67.4 per cent), followed by residential institutions (9.8 per cent) and plantations (4.9 per cent), she added.