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(File pic) Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said for each suicide, it was estimated that about 20 family members and friends would be impacted emotionally, socially and economically. (NSTP/NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM)

PUTRAJAYA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded suicide as the second leading cause of death among youths aged between 15 and 19 years old.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said for each suicide, it was estimated that about 20 family members and friends would be impacted emotionally, socially and economically.

He said in Malaysia, the 2017 National Health and Morbidity Study found there was a rising trend in suicide among youths aged 13 to 17, and in 2017 about 10 per cent had suicidal thoughts compared with 7. 9 per cent in 2012.

"Those planning to end one's life stood at 7.3 per cent in 2017 compared with 6. 4 per cent in 2012, whereas suicide attempt was at 6.9 per cent compared with 6.8 per cent in 2012.

"WHO also stated that suicide was among the 10 top causes of death globally," said Dr Noor Hisham.

In line with this year's World Suicide Prevention Day, he said one must focus on smart partnership involving various government agencies and non-governmental agencies.

Dr Noor Hisham stressed that apart from health issues other factors should be given consideration such as mental disorders, substance abuse, psychosocial problems in the family, life tragedies, relationship problems and financial problems.

He said people should help those experiencing emotional crisis and displaying signs of depression or have suicidal tendencies.

"Take their concerns seriously," he said, adding that one should make time to hear their complaints including providing them with social support.

"If things don't improve, one should assist them get specialist treatment or get them in touch with existing services," he said.

The ministry, he said, also provided screening and treatment services for mental health issues at 60 public hospitals; 1,001 primary health clinics and 25 Mental Health Community Centres (Mentari).

Dr Noor Hisham urged those who had issues or were contemplating suicide were advised to contact the 24-hour Befrienders hotline at 05-547 7933 (Ipoh), 04-281 5161 (Penang) or 03-7956 8144 (Klang Valley).

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