Suicidal Behavior among Malaysian Indians

Suicidal Behavior among Malaysian Indians

Prof. T. Maniam,   Department of Psychiatry, National University of Malaysia

Venue: CSSS II, JNU, Time: 5:30 p.m.

Malaysia is a multicultural Southeast Asian country of 30 million people. The major ethnic groups are Malays, Chinese, Indians (8%) and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak.  Malaysian Indians have higher rates of suicidal behavior(which includes suicidal ideas, plans, attempts and completed suicides), than any other ethnic group in Malaysia. In the past an agricultural district had one of the highest suicide rates in the world, mainly contributed to by Indian farm workers dying after ingesting agricultural biocides. Happily this has changed in recent years. While there is considerable misclassification of suicide statistics in this country all studies, past and recent, almost unanimously agree that people of Indian descent have disproportionately high rates of suicide. In this, Malaysian Indians are similar to Indians in some other countries they have migrated to such as Fiji, and the West Indies. The actual Indian suicide rate in Malaysia is debatable, and it fluctuates widely depending on the source of the information and the methodology employed. Alcoholism, poverty and mental illnesses are highest among Indians. Other indices of social distress such as crime rates, rates of incarceration, domestic abuse and drug use are also high. It may be postulated that these as well as the relative absence of a strong social prohibition against suicidal behavior are important contributory factors.


T. Maniam is a  Professor of Psychiatry, National University of Malaysia. His research is on epidemiology of suicide. He is a Fellow, Academy of Medicine Malaysia; Past President of Malaysian Psychiatric Association; Former Chair of Council of National Representatives of International Association for Suicide Prevention; Member of Mental Health Advisory Council to Ministry of Health; Member of Working Group for National Suicide Prevention Action Plan.


Time and Place:

Date:   Thursday, Sep 25, 2014
Venue:   CSSS II, JNU
Address:   CSSS II, JNU
City/Twon:   New Delhi
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