National Council of Befrienders Malaysia

22 November 2018


Excerpts from:

Befrienders Worldwide

Suicide Statistics


The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds.

The WHO further reports that:

  • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides.
  • Although suicide rates have traditionally been highest amongst elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.
  • Mental health disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide.
  • However, suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis (e.g. loss of a loved one, unemployment, sexual orientation, difficulties with developing one’s identity, disassociation from one’s community or other social/belief group, and honour).

The WHO also states that:

  • In Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, the highest suicide rates are reported for both men and women.
  • The Eastern Mediterranean Region and Central Asia republics have the lowest suicide rates.
  • Nearly 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China.
  • Suicides globally by age are as follows: 55% are aged between 15 to 44 years and 45% are aged 45 years and over.
  • Youth suicide is increasing at the greatest rate.


Suicide Prevention

Many countries recognise the need and positive impact of Suicide Prevention Strategies, and are working to ensure they are in place.

The WHO States:

  • Strategies involving restriction of access to common methods of suicide have proved to be effective in reducing suicide rates. However, there is a need to adopt multi-sectoral approaches involving other levels of intervention and activities, such as crisis centres.
  • There is compelling evidence indicating that adequate prevention and treatment of depression, alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide rates.
  • School-based interventions involving crisis management, self-esteem enhancement and the development of coping skills and healthy decision making have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of suicide among the youth.
  • The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) provides a forum for national and local organisations, researchers, volunteers, clinicians and professionals to share knowledge, provide support and to collaborate in suicide prevention around the world.


Suicide on the rise among Malaysian youth

KUALA LUMPUR: ON average, 20 of the 68 people who call Befrienders Kuala Lumpur daily for help have suicidal thoughts.

The number of people crying out for help has increased by 16 per cent, from 21,256 in 2015 to 24,821 last year.

Befriender’s KL publicity director Ardy Ayadali said 7,446 who called last year had suicidal intentions, compared with 5,739 in 2015.

“Although suicide is more common among older people in most parts of the world, research shows that suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 15 and 29 in Malaysia,” he said.

Ardy said 21 per cent of callers were aged 21 to 30; 15 per cent were below 20; 13 per cent were between 31 and 40; and 36 per cent were of unknown ages.


“The numbers are higher when it comes to email, as the younger generation prefers to write.”

Befrienders received 3,443 emails from people reaching out for help last year, compared with 2,685 emails in 2015 and 2,283 in 2014.

Eighteen per cent of the emails were from youth under 19, 27 per cent were from the 20 to 29 age group and five per cent were from the 30 to 39 age group.

The remaining 46 per cent of emails did not mention the senders’ ages.

“Most of the time, all they want is to end the emotional pain that they are feeling. And when nothing else works, suicide comes to mind.”

Ardy said the most common trigger for suicide among the callers was depression.

“Another trigger is a broken relationship, although with support and help, they tend to feel better after a considerable period of time.

“It also depends on the person’s coping mechanisms and their support system. Another alarming trend we notice is self-harm, especially among teens.

“There is no clear relationship between self-harm and suicide, but the worry is the pain that causes them to self-harm may also drive them to suicide.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist Assoc Prof Dr Fairuz Nazri Abd Rahman said a 2014 study titled ‘Completed Suicides and Self-Harm in Malaysia: A Systematic Review’ stated that the prevalence of suicide in Malaysia was six to eight per 100,000 population per year.

She said in developing countries like Malaysia, the highest suicide rate was found among the young (below 30) while married women were also at higher risk.

Ardy said there was increasing evidence that social media could contribute to suicide-related behaviour.

“Social media can lead to isolation, and teenagers tend to shut themselves off from the world.

“The role of social media and its potential influence on suicide-related behaviour is continuously evolving. New threats can surface at any time.

“Suicide contagion is the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviour within one’s family, peer group or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviours.”

Cyberbullying, he said, was another huge issue.

Ardy said sometimes people who posted about their suicidal intentions online received negative feedback and were accused of being attention seekers. He said sometimes netizens even challenged them to go through with it.

Ardy said communication between parents and children was crucial to keep things in check.

“We receive many calls and emails from children who are going through problems in life, especially depression or other types of mental illnesses. When they try to talk to their parents about it, they often get brushed aside.

“The parents sometimes feel that the issue is not serious enough, and they do not seek help or do not help their children at all. Once this happens, the children will be more reluctant to talk to them when they encounter other difficulties in the future.”

The Robin Williams’ Effect

While the factors that contribute to every suicide are different, Fink says a common theory is that many cases share three precursors: a breakdown in the person’s social structure, access to a means of suicide and an ability to overcome a natural fear of death. A high-profile celebrity suicide may partially fulfill the third element, Fink says.


8 February 2018

February 8, 2018 / 6:45 AM / Updated 4 hours ago

Robin Williams’ death linked to rise in copycat suicides


The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, found that in the five months from August to December 2014 some 18,690 deaths by suicide were recorded – an increase of 9.85 percent from the expected number of cases for the period.

Williams, the Oscar-winning star of “Good Morning, Vietnam” who was beloved for his humor, died in August 2014 at age 63 in a suicide that shocked fans worldwide. Authorities said he died of asphyxia after hanging himself at his home in northern California. An autopsy found that Williams was suffering from Lew body dementia, which causes a progressive decline in mental ability.

Suicides following Williams’ death rose by 12.9 percent in men aged 30-44, and the study found a 32 percent increase in the number of deaths from suffocation.

Although the study could not prove a definitive link, it said there appeared to be a connection. Extensive media coverage of Williams’ death “might have proved the necessary stimulus for high-risk segments of the U.S. population (e.g. middle-aged men in despair) to move from suicidal ideation to attempt.”

While the effects of widely reported celebrity suicides have previously been linked to increases in the wider population, the study said media coverage of Williams’ suicide was particularly detailed and sensational and was amplified through social media.

The study used data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Leslie Adler

48m48 minutes ago

Suicides spiked by 10% after Robin Williams’ death, a new study says


By Jamie Ducharme

February 7, 2018

Widespread media coverage may have contributed to a 10% increase in suicides following Robin Williams’ highly publicized death, according to a new study.

In the four months after Williams’ death by suicide in August 2014, CDC data revealed that there were 18,690 deaths by suicide in the U.S. — significantly more than the 16,849 suicides that past data and trends would have predicted for that time period, according to an analysis published Wednesday in PLOS ONE.

“When you looked at the data, you didn’t need statistics to see that something happened,” says study author David Fink, a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. “You see this very large spike in August that you can just tell is off.”

The study is among the first to examine the impact of celebrity suicide in the U.S. (One paper in 1996 paper focused on Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s death two years earlier.) While the research doesn’t prove that Williams’ death, and the resulting news coverage and social media response, caused the observed spike in suicides, a number of parallels suggest that it at least played a part, Fink says.

For one thing, the jump was particularly significant among men ages 30 to 44, a demographic similar to the actor’s. A disproportionate number of the victims also died by strangulation, as many news outlets reported that Williams did, according to the paper.

That overlap isn’t very surprising, Fink says. While the factors that contribute to every suicide are different, Fink says a common theory is that many cases share three precursors: a breakdown in the person’s social structure, access to a means of suicide and an ability to overcome a natural fear of death. A high-profile celebrity suicide may partially fulfill the third element, Fink says.

“When you see somebody that you can relate to that has overcome this natural fear of death, you might be able to relate to that and take the same behaviors you were incapable of prior,” he says. “That’s why we expect to see the same demographics.”

Ernest Hemingway



Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, killed himself.

Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Wikipedia
Why did Ernest Hemingway commit?
The genetic disease, Hemochromatosis, ran in his family, which caused the inability to metabolize iron which results in symptoms of physical and mental deterioration. Hemingway had been diagnosed with it in early 1961, the year he killed himself. His sister Ursula, and his brother Leicester also committed suicide.



Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, killed himself. Before that, his father had killed himself. Next came a sister, Ursula, and a brother, Leicester. Finally, a grand daughter, Margo, killed herself. Five suicides across four generations!
1 The first was Clarence Hemingway, who died on 6 December 1928. Shot himself with his father’s Smith and Wesson .32 revolver. He was Ernest Hemingway’s father. Clarence Hemingway was born on September 4, 1871. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1893 and later received his medical degree from Rush Medical College. He married Grace Hall on October 1, 1896 and they had six children together. He was a very devoted husband and father. Clarence Hemingway shot himself on December 6, 1928 with his father’s Smith and Wesson .32 revolver. His death greatly affected his son Ernest. Throughout much of his life, Ernest Hemingway harbored a great deal of hatred for his mother. This hatred was mainly fueled from his belief that his mother was responsible for his father’s 1928 suicide. In a 1948 letter to Malcom Cowley, Hemingway wrote: “I hated my mother as soon as I knew the score and loved my father until he embarrassed me with his cowardice.… My mother is an all time all american bitch and she would make a pack mule shoot himself; let alone poor bloody father.”
2 Ernest Hemingway, died July 2, 1961. He shot himself with his favorite shotgun. He unlocked the basement storeroom where his guns were kept, went upstairs to the front entrance foyer of their Ketchum home, and pushed two shells into the twelve-gauge shotgun …put the end of the barrel into his mouth, pulled the trigger and blew out his brains. During his final years, Hemingway’s behavior was similar to his father’s before he himself committed suicide;  his father may have had the genetic disease hemochromatosis, in which the inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration.  Medical records made available in 1991 confirm that Hemingway’s hemochromatosis had been diagnosed in early 1961.  Added to Hemingway’s physical ailments was the additional problem that he had been a heavy drinker for most of his life.
3 Ursula Hemingway, daughter and 3rd child of Clarence Hemingway, died 30 October, 1966. Overdosed on drugs. Sibling if Ernest Hemingway. Ursula Hemingway was born on April 29, 1902.  She graduated from Carleton College in 1925, became a well-known artist in Honolulu and was responsible for creating the Ernest Hemingway Memorial Award for creative writing at the University of Hawaii.  On October 30, 1966, Ursula Hemingway, suffering from cancer and depression, overdosed on drugs.
4 Leicester Hemingway, died September 1982. Shot himself with a .22 pistol. Sibling of Ernest Hemingway. Leicester Hemingway was born on April 1, 1915. He was the sixth of six children born to Clarence and Grace Hemingway and the only brother of Ernest Hemingway.  After being told by doctors that a severe case of Type II diabetes might cost him both legs, Leicester Hemingway shot himself with a .22 pistol in September of 1982.
5 Margot Hemingway (Margaux), grand daughter of Ernest Hemingway, died 1 July 1996 of an overdose of phenobarbital.



Margot Hemingway was born on February 16, 1955.  Throughout her life, Margot struggled with alcoholism, bulimia, and epilepsy. Due to her dyslexia, she did not read many of the books written by her grandfather. She openly admitted that she was not a Hemingway aficionado. On July 1, 1996, Margot Hemingway died from an overdose of phenobarbital. Go to the links below for more:

Ursula Hemingway married Jasper Jepson in 1923 and they had one child together: Gayle. On October 30, 1966, Ursula Hemingway, suffering from cancer and depression … – Cached 2

3 Why did Ernest Hemingway commit suicide – The Q&A wiki

It’s not known exactly why as Hemingway didn’t leave a suicide note. What is known is that he was a very heavy drinker and a very depressed man. Some speculate that … ————————————————————————————————————

July 2 1962
The Hemingways and Suicide

by Steve King On this day in 1961 Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at the age of sixty-one. There have been five suicides in the Hemingway family over four generations — Hemingway’s father, Clarence; siblings Ursula, Leicester and Ernest; granddaughter Margaux. The generation skipped was just barely: Hemingway’s youngest son, Gregory, died in 2001 as a transsexual named Gloria, of causes that put a lot of strain on the term “natural.” Ernest Hemingway – The Hemingways and Suicide

Today in Literature presents Ernest Hemingway – The Hemingways and Suicide, and other stories about the great books, writers, characters, and events in


Which Hemingway girl killed herself?
Margaux Hemingway
Died July 1, 1996 (aged 42) Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death Suicide by drug overdose
Resting place Ketchum Cemetery, Ketchum, Idaho, U.S.
Occupation Model, actress

On Suicide
Book by Émile Durkheim
Suicide is an 1897 book written by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. It was the first methodological study of a social fact in the context of society. Wikipedia
Original title: Le suicide
Language: French



Excerpts from:


The Study of Suicide by Emile Durkheim

A Brief Overview

Suicide by founding sociologist Émile Durkheim is a classic text in sociology that is widely taught to students within the discipline. Published in 1897, the work is considered groundbreaking both for showcasing an in-depth case study of suicide that revealed that there can be social causes to suicide, and because it was the first book to present a sociological study.

Durkheim argued that suicide can be caused by social factors, not just individual psychological ones. Durkheim reasoned that social integration in particular is a factor. The more socially integrated a person is–connected to society and generally feeling that they belong and that their life makes sense within the social context–the less likely they are to commit suicide.

As social integration decreases, people are more likely to commit suicide.

Durkheim developed a theoretical typology of suicide to explain the differing effects of social factors and how they might lead to suicide. They are as follows.

  • Anomic suicide occurs when a person experiences anomie — a sense of disconnection from society and a feeling of not belonging that result from weakened social cohesion. Anomie occurs during period of serious social, economic, or political upheaval, which results in quick and extreme changes to society and everyday life. In such circumstances a person might feel so confused and disconnected that they choose to commit suicide.
  • Altruistic suicide happens when there is excessive regulation of individuals by social forces, such that a person will be moved to kill themselves for the benefit of a cause or for society at large. An example is someone who commits suicide for the sake of a religious or political cause, such as the infamous Japanese Kamikaze pilots of World War II, or the hijackers of the airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania on in 2001. In such social circumstances, people are so strongly integrated into social expectations and society itself that they will kill themselves in an effort to achieve collective goals.
  • Egoistic suicide happens when people feel totally detached from society. Ordinarily, people are integrated into society by work roles, ties to family and community, and other social bonds. When these bonds are weakened through retirement or loss of family and friends, the likelihood of egoistic suicide increases. Elderly people who lose these ties are the most susceptible to egoistic suicide.
  • Fatalistic suicide occurs under conditions of extreme social regulation that result in oppressive conditions and a denial of the self and of agency. In such a situation a person may elect to die rather than continue enduring the oppressive conditions, such as the case of suicide among prisoners.

Updated by Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.

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1 Response to Suicide

  1. Doris Looi says:

    Nowadays, not,e,s,the,new,g,

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