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SUICIDE: Mental health important

Date: 21 May 2014

By David Tih, Malacca

HEALTH Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai revealed that 1,000 people had taken their lives over a three-year period in the report, "Action plan to curb rising suicide rate" (NST, June 5). This is alarming indeed.

Given the increase in the number of suicides in the country, the move to set up the National Strategic and Action Plan for Suicide Prevention is most timely and practical.

Suicide is one of the most serious social ills in Malaysia. People kill themselves for various reasons: personal issues; financial and economic hardship; failure in relationships, marriage or business; health problems, pressure in school and over examinations; and, the inability to cope with the demands of modern living.

A person considering suicide normally exhibits certain worrying signs, such as depression and an expressed feeling of hopelessness. The person also loses interest in living, becomes withdrawn and listless, feeling sick and down all the time.

Recently, we witnessed a number of teenage suicides. Let us hope this proposed action plan will minimise such cases.

In view of the seriousness of the problem, it is necessary that everyone understands the importance of mental health and its role in preventing suicides.

Good physical and mental health are vital to ensure a person's overall wellbeing. It is vital for one to understand oneself, recognise one's own feelings and state of mind, learn to make choices, and control one's emotions and express oneself in positive ways.

Mentally healthy people can recognise, accept and deal with their emotions. They understand it is perfectly natural to feel anxious, nervous, tense, sad, frustrated, ashamed, uneasy or disappointed when things don't go their way.

They are able to let go of things and be unattached, freeing themselves from guilt and pain.

Good mental health allows them to experience and grow, and cope with things in a more mature and positive way.

When necessary, people can turn to psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers or counsellors for help. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness.

Being oneself is the key to mental health. Discovering what we can do -- our interests, talents and special qualities -- is of great importance to realise our potential and work towards life goals.

We can take control of our destiny. Knowing not to expect the impossible of ourselves and demand the impossible of those around us helps.

With the right understanding and a positive attitude, let's live life to the fullest.

This article was first published in on 7 June 2012.

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