Singapore witnessed a distressing surge in suicides last year, with a total of 476 reported cases.
According to the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), the highest number of suicides in Singapore, in over two decades.
The 25.9% increase in suicides from the previous year’s count of 378 is a cause for concern, as highlighted by SOS using data from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. The rise in suicides in Singapore was observed across various age groups, with particular significance among youths and the elderly.
Causes of Rise in Suicides in Singapore
SOS, a non-profit suicide prevention centre, revealed that family problems, employment and financial difficulties, as well as romantic relationships, were the most commonly cited issues by individuals reaching out for help. Among the age groups affected, suicide remained the leading cause of death for youths aged 10 to 29, with approximately one-third of deaths in this demographic attributed to suicide.
One alarming finding is the significant increase of 60%. in suicides among individuals aged between 70 and 79, compared to the previous year. SOS reported that the elderly sought help primarily for medical issues, family difficulties, and loneliness.
The gender breakdown of the suicides indicated that 317 were men, while 159 were women, consistent with the global trend where male suicide deaths have consistently outnumbered female suicide deaths. Factors such as societal expectations and mental health stigma contribute to this higher rate.
Addressing Singapore’s Alarming Rise in Suicides
To effectively address the alarming rise in suicides in Singapore, it is crucial to implement a multi-faceted approach. This includes increasing mental health awareness and education, ensuring the availability of robust mental health services and resources, creating support networks for vulnerable individuals, and addressing the social pressures and work-related stress that contribute to the problem.
By adopting a comprehensive strategy that focuses on prevention, early intervention, and support, Singapore can work towards reducing suicide rates and creating a society that prioritises the well-being of its residents.
Collective Efforts to Prevent Suicides Among Singaporean Youths and the Elderly
SOS witnessed a significant 27% increase in the utilisation of its 24-hour hotline and CareText service last year. To tackle the rising suicide numbers, SOS’ CEO, Gasper Tan, acknowledged the urgency of the situation and expressed the organisation’s commitment to taking proactive steps to provide support and address the underlying causes of suicide. He emphasised the preventability of suicide and the importance of building an ecosystem of care where individuals feel valued, supported, and empowered to seek help when needed.
From improving mental health literacy and recognising warning signs of distress to promoting self-care and teaching peer support skills, various stakeholders, including parents, educators, healthcare professionals, and community workers, need to join forces to form a safety net.
Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts: Immediate Steps for Support and Safety
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, it is crucial to take immediate steps to ensure safety and seek support. Here are some initial actions that can help:
Reach out to a trusted individual
Share your feelings with someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or mental health professional. Opening up about your thoughts can provide relief and support.
Call a helpline
In many countries, helplines offer immediate assistance for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts. These helplines are staffed by trained professionals who can provide guidance, listen to your concerns, and offer resources.
Remove immediate means of self-harm
If you have access to any tools or substances that could be used for self-harm, remove them from your environment. This can help create a safer space and reduce the risk of impulsive actions.
Isolation can worsen suicidal thoughts, so it’s important to stay connected with others. Reach out to friends or loved ones, engage in activities that bring you joy or distract your mind. Consider joining support groups where you can connect with people who have similar experiences.
Seek professional help
Reach out to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. They can provide a comprehensive assessment, offer therapy or medication options, and create a safety plan tailored to your specific needs.
Remember, immediate steps are essential, but they are not a substitute for ongoing professional help. It’s crucial to reach out to a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and long-term support.
Singapore’s record-breaking number of suicides in over two decades highlights an alarming trend that demands immediate attention. By working together and addressing the underlying causes, we can strive towards a society where every individual feels empowered to overcome their mental health challenges.
Singapore: 1800-221-44441 (SOS)
Malaysia: (03) 7956 8144, (03) 7956 81452
Thailand: 1300 (One Stop Crisis Centre)
Philippines: 0919 777 7377 (PNP Women and Children’s Protection Center)
Indonesia: +62 811 943 6633 (Yayasan Pulih)
- List of Helplines. (n.d.). UN Women – Asia-Pacific. https://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/focus-areas/end-violence-against-women/shadow-pandemic-evaw-and-covid-response/list-of-helplines
- SOS. (n.d.). SOS. https://www.sos.org.sg/pressroom/highest-recorded-suicide-numbers-in-singapore-since-2000