Suicide prevention in Singapore: signs to look for in your loved ones and places to get help in Singapore for those in crisis.
Here is a shocking fact for you: suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged from 10 to 29 here in Singapore. If that isn’t a frightening statistic, then we don’t know what is. Mental health is a serious topic that isn’t discussed nearly enough, and yet it’s a subject that affects so many, the world over. The increasing pressures of our personal and professional lives can lead to moments of hopelessness, and sometimes it’s just too tough to put up our hands and say, “I really need some help.”
But today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and we think that if society wants to help break the taboos that surround this devastating topic, we all need to start by talking to one another about our well-being, our worries, our fears and our overwhelming thoughts. So let’s kick this off by saying: despite the shiny, happy life that social media often portrays, we ourselves have known and lost loved ones to suicide. That fact can never change. But we do hope that by reading this you can try and help anyone in your circle who may feel vulnerable. And, to recognise in yourselves that if you are struggling, there is always another way.
Suicide facts and figures in Singapore and worldwide
The situation in Singapore
The Samaritans of Singapore provide a safe space where information is kept anonymous and confidential. It has a 24/7 hotline (1-800-221-4444), email address for those in crisis and a text messaging service. We all know how much pressure we put on ourselves as parents, but these startling facts from The Samaritans of Singapore relating to children as young as 10 years old are especially worrying:
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10-29
- There were five times more deaths from suicide than transport accidents in 2020
- 452 lives were lost to suicide in 2020
- Males account for more than 70 per cent of all suicides in 2020
- For every suicide, at least six suicide survivors are left behind
The situation globally
In June 2021, The World Health Organisation issued these global statistics:
- More than 700,000 people die due to suicide yearly; more than one in every 100 deaths were because of suicide
- For every person who takes their life, there are many more who attempts to do so but failed
- Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds around the world
- Over 77 per cent of suicides taking place globally occur in low- and middle-income countries
Suicide Prevention Day: Signs to look out for in a suicidal person
The Samaritans of Singapore say looking for signs that someone might be contemplating suicide is not always easy. Some people can easily mask their true feelings, and teenagers especially can be hard to gauge and read. Its advice is to ask this simple question about the person you are concerned for: “What is he or she going through right now?”
It may be upcoming exams, a relationship or friendship that has soured or been lost through repatriation, a new baby, a huge upheaval or an international move. Knowing what someone is currently going through can help you understand if that person may be in crisis. By monitoring physical, emotional and mental state, you may start to notice warning signs that could indicate a risk of suicide.
Is this person talking in a way that could indicate feelings of despair?
- Expressions of being a burden to others: “My family will be better off without me.”
- Expressions of feeling trapped/in unbearable pain: “There’s no point to my life anymore.”
- Suicide threats: “If you don’t love me anymore, I will kill myself.”
What actions should set off warning bells?
- Giving away treasured possessions and saying goodbye
- Researching suicide methods
- Writing suicide notes (including emails/diaries/blogs)
Is this person’s mood pointing to a crisis?
- Extreme emotional outbursts (anger, sadness, irritability, recklessness)
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Humiliation or anxiety
Helplines in Singapore
World Suicide Prevention Day falls on 10 September, but it doesn’t mean you can’t reach out at any other time of the year. If you or anyone you know needs some support, please do get in touch with one of Singapore’s dedicated helplines, which will remain anonymous. It doesn’t matter what you say to these guys, but please do say it.
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- CHAT @ *SCAPE: (+65) 6493 6500, (+65) 6493 6501
- SAF Counselling Hotline: 1800-278-0022
- Mental Health Helpline: (+65) 6389 2222
- Counselling and Care Centre: (+65) 6536 6366
- Silver Ribbon (Singapore): (+65) 6386 1982
- Tinkle Friend: 1800-2744-788
- Institute of Mental Health: (+65) 6389 2000
- NuLife Counselling: (+65) 6300 8706
- Singapore Counselling Centre: (+65) 6339 5411
Much love to all. #worldsuicidepreventionday