THE proposal by the government to decriminalise suicide is a move in the right direction.

Attempted suicide is regarded as an offence (under Section 309 of the Penal Code), where the person who attempts suicide can be charged. But with the new proposal, those who attempt suicide will not be convicted. This is a landmark proposal and it will go a long way in helping suicidal victims and treating the person as mentally unstable, instead of putting the person behind bars.

Suicide is a cry for help and should be treated as such, and not as a criminal act. There is no doubt that the taking of a life is a crime but taking one’s own life should be viewed from a different perspective. No one in their right mind would want to end their life except if they were facing a life threatening situation.

Suicide has become a frightening reality and a scary trend in our society. A medical newsletter reported that suicide would be the country’s second biggest cause of death after heart disease in five to 10 years.

According to the World Health Organisation, over one million people commit suicide every year. In Malaysia, most suicide cases happen among people between the ages of 15- 30 and 50-75. Unable to cope with mounting pressure from school and work, and unable to deal with examinations, family issues and broken relationships, the young adults take their own lives.

The “pressure cooker” lifestyle leads to a plethora of illnesses, both physical and mental. The elderly face problems of loneliness, depression and ageing.

Suicide is a manifestation of the condition and state of the mental health of a person. A suicidal person loses hope and gives up on life, and chooses in his mind to terminate his existence.

Cousellors and tutors have to be more alert to identify and look out for students with psychological and emotional problems. Every reported case of suicidal tendencies should be investigated promptly and discreetly.

There is a rise in the number of school and college students taking their lives due to examination pressure. Parental and societal pressure to excel in examinations has driven many young children to suicides. The young adults should be given stress-coping mechanisms and strategies in their school and workplace.

There are also many young people who have ended their lives because of failed relationships. Religious authorities should conduct seminars and talks on the value of live and making the most of being alive. No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start a new day and make a blissful ending.

Time heals everything in life, so be patient for everything will fall into place.

Samuel Yesuiah