Friday, July 10

BeFrienders Kuching seeks to tackle mental health issues


Dr Yii listens to an explanation at one of the booths set up at the launching ceremony.

KUCHING: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has lauded BeFrienders Kuching for coming up with an initiative to address the growing concern over mental health issues as well as suicide tendencies not just among adults but also students as well.

“BeFrienders Kuching, a voluntary body launched at Lodge School International here aims to raise awareness of suicide prevention among students through interactive activities in different station to get the students not just to be aware of the issue, but also play their part to be a ‘friend’ to those who need support or show signs of distress and suicidal tendencies,” he said in a press release yesterday.

“I also encourage students who have inspirational stories of different people who overcame the tough times and suicide attempts to become successful people while helping and impacting millions others today.

“It is also important for those who are going through tough times to remember that it is not a weakness to ask for help and that the greatest superhero we can be is a friend in need to our friends and families that need us,” Dr Yii added.

“Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. Every year, suicide is the 15th leading cause of death globally for all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. It is the leading cause of death in people aged 15-24 in many European countries. In 2012, 39 per cent of global suicides occurred in Southeast Asian region which Malaysia is part of,” he said.

“Suicide is the result of a convergence of genetic, psychological, social, cultural and other risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss.

“Thus, it is important that everyone plays a part in suicide prevention by raising awareness of the issue, educate ourselves and others on the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in our community.

“Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide. Mental health is a serious issue and is not just limited to ‘European countries’ but also is increasing drastically in Malaysia even among the young.

“In Malaysia, based on the National Health and Morbidity Survery 2015, every three in 10 adults aged 16 years and above have some sort of mental problems. Even during the last parliamentary session,” Dr Yii said adding he debated on the need to address the issue of mental health and the need for more trained personnel to deal with this growing concern.

“I also want to encourage members of the public to spread the news and especially for those trained in psychotherapy and counselling to become volunteers and together we can help those in need including our children in schools. Life is precious,” Dr Yii said.

‘BeFrienders’ is a Hotline initiative where members of the public who have suicidal tendency or suffering from general distress can call volunteers and counsellors including doctors who can provide emotional support and counselling tothose in need. The Hotline number is 082-242800.

They currently operate from Mondays to Sundays (6.30pm to 9.30pm) and will look to expand their services when they have more manpower.