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Recently, a policeman from my home state Sarawak killed himself in front of his colleagues using his service ammunition. According to news reports, the cop, who was based at the Bintulu police station, was facing some domestic problems, which led to the apparent suicide.

It is very disheartening to read stories about those who choose to take their own lives, as a way to end their suffering. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29, after road accidents. Locally, the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017 found that one in five youths suffered from depression and 10% have had suicidal thoughts.

The main cause of suicides is often depression. Many do not know how to handle depression, or don’t even know that they are clinically depressed. They mistakenly believe that ending their lives would solve all problems, but are oblivious to its effects on others like their immediate family members. There’s still poor awareness on the help available out there, such as the free services offered by the Befrienders.

To make matters worse, there’s a lot of stigma associated with suicides. At present, suicide attempts are a criminal offence. However, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii is pushing for a law to decriminalise attempted suicides in the coming Parliament session. He is also pushing for insurance coverage for mental illnesses. Hopefully, these will help raise awareness about depression and suicide prevention.

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