KUALA LUMPUR: It was a sombre affair at the wake of a 17-year-old boy, who is believed to have taken his own life, with family members choosing to mourn privately.
They kept away from the media and spoke in hushed tones at the Jinjang funeral parlour here yesterday.
The teenagerâ€™s mother was seen weeping inconsolably at Hospital Kuala Lumpur earlier yesterday when she retrieved her sonâ€™s body.
It was reported yesterday that the boy, who had appeared in several Chinese TV dramas, had apparently been anxious over his SPM examination.
A family member found him dead in his room.
Sentul OCPD Asst Comm R. MunuÂsamy confirmed that the case had been classified as sudden death.
A schoolmate, Darshene Naidu, said: â€œHe was always a straight A student. I could not believe his sudden death. I started to get scared and cried when I told my mum the news.â€
The teachers often spoke of him as a role model, she added.
She said she could relate to his frustrations, citing the Additional Mathematics paper which she claimed was much more difficult compared to last year.
Darshene said their teachers broke the heartbreaking news to them during the morning assembly yesterday before the examination started.
â€œWhen I entered the exam hall and saw his empty seat, I was really sad. The students around his seat started to cry,â€ she said.
Malaysian Mental Health AssoÂciation deputy president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said studies showed that 1.3 out of 100,000 people over the age of 18 took their own life in Malaysia but the number of actual suicides could be more due to under-reporting.
Stressful situations such as facing an examination were commonly linked to student suicides but Dr Andrew said mental health illnesses were often the root problem.
â€œUsually (males) from the age of 17 to 19, and a bit older for females, show the first symptoms of schizophrenia. And suicide and schizophrenia are very much closely related,â€ he said.
Depression is also a cause for concern as many people do not even realise that they suffer from it.
â€œIt is the single, main cause of suicide all over the world,â€ added Dr Andrew.
Befriendersâ€™ publicity director Ardy Ayadali said they received an average of 50 to 60 calls and e-mails in a day and statistics had shown an alarming rise in callers between the ages of 12 and 25 lately.
â€œThese calls are associated with the pressures that they face in school and also bullying,â€ said Ardy.
Anyone facing problems are advised to contact the Befrienders at 03-7956 8144 (Klang Valley), 04-281 5161 (Penang) or 05-547 7933 (Ipoh).