Rise In Elderly Suicide Rates Contributed To Singapore’s Highest Records Since 2012

The pandemic has forced us to isolate and reduce our contact with the outside world. Although necessary, it has also reportedly led to a rise in suicides in Singapore, with elderly suicide deaths rising the most.

In a press statement released today (8 Jul), the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) revealed that Singapore reported 452 suicides in 2020, a 13% increase from 400 cases in 2019.

This is the highest since 2012 and many signs point towards the pandemic as the largest contributing factor.

Those who require emotional support can dial SOS’s new 4-digit hotline number at 1-767 (1-SOS) or alternatively,  1800-221 4444.

Elderly suicide rates highest among all age groups

While the high suicide rate among the elderly is concerning, SOS noted that the number of deaths increased across all age groups.

The increase from 2019 to 2020 was 7% among 10 to 29-year-old youths and 30 to 59-year-old adults.

Suicide deaths among the elderly aged 60 and above reached a high of 154, a 26% increase from 2019.

In total, suicide deaths rose to 8.88 per 100,000 Singapore residents.

Lack of social interaction likely cause of high rates

In the report, SOS chief executive Gasper Tan said that Covid-19’s effects on the nation’s economy, lifestyle, and mental health have been great.

He thus expressed his worry about how the elderly are coping during the pandemic.

Mr Tan added that the elderly are more likely to face social isolation and financial worries during this time.

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With the constant wave of changes, they are facing difficulties keeping up. The prolonged periods of isolation have also made many feel lonely.

Now that many in-person activities and initiatives have moved digitally, those with limited technological proficiency may find themselves lost and helpless.

Associate Professor Helen Ko shared that the elderly would often long to hear a familiar voice of a loved one or just normal human voices. She also urged Singaporeans to practise patience as the elderly pick up digital skills in this period.

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As long as the pandemic is still here, SOS will continue to find avenues to support the mental health of the elderly in Singapore and are seeking partnerships to run this initiative.

Check up on your loved ones

Though technology has helped us cope with the pandemic, we must not forget those who aren’t able to adapt the same way.

The elderly, especially those who live alone, need companionship too. So let’s find ways as a community to reach out to them and check on their welfare.

If you or anyone you know needs someone to speak to, do not hesitate to reach out to the SOS hotline at 1-767 (1-SOS).

We hope that those who need help will get it soon, so they can make it through these tough times.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Robynne Hu on Unsplash, for illustration purposes only.