KOTA KINABALU: Befrienders Kota Kinabalu has called on communities to be on the lookout for suicidal individuals around them and to heed warning signs.
Publicity director Jessie Ting said suicides are becoming a concern following cases recorded during movement restrictions since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
“It is an undeniable fact that the current pandemic has contributed to more uncertainties for the future and exacerbated several stressors for suicide.
“Callers to our helplines since March to November this year include people with loss of income, job loss, financial difficulties, family break-ups, difficulties in continuing their education, feeling a sense of isolation due to movement controls (MCOs) . ), loneliness, lack of social support and persons suffering from severe depression or mental illness.
About 30% of the 1,375 calls received from March to October were from callers with suicidal tendencies and loss of hope for life.
“Girlfriends want to encourage everyone in societies and communities to heed the warning signs, the importance of communication and family support at these times,” Ting said in a statement Sunday (Nov. 22).
She said that if a suicide happened, either all support systems failed or those who committed suicide did not know where to look for help.
Ting said suicide is preventable and prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously.
“The warning signs include: feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, prolonged depression, loss of interest in things one cares about, drastic behavior change, withdrawal, looking for ways to commit suicide, talking about life has lost its meaning and isolation.
“Those with suicidal tendencies may also arrange their personal belongings, use excessive alcohol or drugs, or purchase and store suicidal drugs such as drugs, charcoal, rope and pesticides,” she said.
Ting noted that it can be difficult to approach someone who may be suicidal, and said that those who want to help these individuals can help them connect to helplines, particularly the Befrienders, registered and licensed counselors, or the community centers for spiritual health.
Reports quoting police data stated that 266 individuals across the country committed suicide during the country’s movement restrictions from March 18 to October 30 during the pandemic.
Those needing someone to talk to can call the Befrienders KL on 03-7956 8145, or 04-281 5161/1108 in Penang, or 05-547 7933/7955 in Ipoh, 08-825 5788,016-803 6945 in Kota Kinabalu, or send an email to [email protected]