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I REFER to the letter headlined “Suicide not the solution” (theSun, April 1) and fully agree with the WRITER as the issue raised is highly relevant in today’s scenario.
Life is always full of challenges and impediments which can trigger mental health issues to varying extents, depending on a person’s mental fortitude and support network.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic is, however, far more challenging as most of us are coping with a health crisis of this magnitude for the first time.
Many have been unable to meet their families whom they have left behind to earn a living in foreign countries. Some have experienced deaths of loved ones while others are undergoing financial burdens due to pay cuts or redundancies.
It is heart-wrenching to read news of people, especially young ones, succumbing to the pressures and taking their own lives.
Many have been impinged by the pandemic in one way or another but not all resort to suicide. This indicates the significance of fostering mental well-being at all points of life.
Unfortunately in today’s world, where success and happiness are measured by owning materialistic stuff, the importance of mental well-being pales into insignificance.
Poor mental health has been an emerging health concern in Malaysia for years, even before the pandemic. However, mental health issues have not been adequately and effectively addressed and dealt with by the relevant authorities.
The criminalisation of suicidal attempts according to Malaysian law is a testament to our inefficiency in dealing with mental health issues. While punishment can serve as a deterrent, the implementation of such extreme steps will do no good in providing long-term solutions.
Suicidal attempts can be stopped or at least minimised with laws but the underlying causes, such as the lack of a support system and stability in life as well as exposures to traumatic experiences, which give rise to suicidal ideation, will not be dealt with. This calls for more comprehensive and holistic approaches, commencing from decriminalisation of suicidal attempts. I appreciate the initiative of enforcing such laws that prevent unnecessary loss of precious lives.
It is also indisputable that suicidal attempts are not a crime but rather an outcry for help. Punishing them will most definitely take away the most crucial thing in life, which is hope.
No matter how much adversity one goes through, it is the hope everything will be fine one day that fuels our desires to keep on living. As much as we want the laws to be sensitive, what really lays the strong foundation in the battle against mental health problems is the determination of oneself to change.
People experiencing excessive stress or misery stemming from work, personal loss or any other issues must be prepared to acknowledge their problems and seek appropriate treatment from professionals.
Mental health problems are just like any other physical ailment. Most importantly, having mental health problems does not translate to “madness”, as wrongly perceived by some due to lack of awareness.
In a majority of cases, mental health is compromised because of a person’s inability to achieve personal goals, and subsequently he begins to look like a failure.
This signifies that people must set a realistic goal and gradually build confidence over the years before aiming for more challenging and bigger objectives.
We must also stop comparing ourselves with others. One must realise that nothing is insurmountable with a positive attitude and mindset. Setting a realistic view on life can lift a huge burden off our shoulders.
Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that without the active engagement of society and government in addressing mental health issues and offering assistance to those suffering, the fight against mental health crisis will be a long way to go.
Thanks for your sharing, this is so helpful for us.
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