Singapore Suicides Increase To 400 In 2019, More Took Their Lives Across Most Age Groups

Living in Singapore can be stressful, and Singaporeans of all ages feel different kinds of stress depending on their backgrounds and experiences.

However, one trend has remained for a few years now — young people are most likely to die from suicide than for other reasons.

That’s what the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) said, even as it revealed that the number of suicides in Singapore rose to 400 in 2019.

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3 more people took their lives in 2019

SOS released the grim statistic in a media statement on Monday (3 Aug).

This is just a slight increase of 3 people from the figure of 397 for 2018.

There were also more deaths from suicide among all age groups last year, said SOS.

For Singapore residents, the number of deaths as a result of suicide was 8 per 100,000.

That’s a slight decrease from 8.36 in 2018.

Suicide leading cause of death for youngsters

The more troubling fact is that for those aged from 10 to 29, most of their deaths were due to suicide, said SOS.

Those in their 20s, especially, form the age group with the highest number of suicides. One-third of all deaths among this age group are due to suicide.

More concretely, 71 people in this age group killed themselves in 2019.

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More calls to suicide hotline from youngsters

As in indication of the number of troubled young people in Singapore, the SOS said it received 4,124 calls to its 24-hour suicide hotline from those in their 20s.

That’s an increase from the 3,396 calls from this age group in the fiscal year ending in Mar 2019.

In all, 17% of the calls received are from people in their 20s — and that’s just among those callers who revealed how old they were.

SOS chief executive Gasper Tan said the high number of suicide among the young is concerning, adding,

Much more remains to be done as a community to further understand and address the issues that may prevent our youths from seeking help.

What issues do the young have?

SOS cited some issues faced by young people, based on their observations.

  1. Romantic issues
  2. Mental health problems
  3. Managing challenging situations.

In a recent SOS survey, one-third of those in their 20s said they won’t ask others for help with their emotional issues.

This is due to the:

  1. Stigma of contemplating suicide
  2. Fear of embarrassment
  3. Fear of being judged
  4. Sense of hopelessness.

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Social distancing may heighten suicidal thoughts

In the time of Covid-19, when we are supposed to stay social distanced from people who might be able to support you, suicidal thoughts may be heightened, said Mr Tan.

In this time when we are physically distanced from one another to stay safe, feelings of loneliness and helplessness may be amplified.

Mr Tan pointed out that SOS received more hotline calls and emails during the ‘Circuit Breaker’.

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Thus, it’s important to check in on your loved ones to show them care and concern, he added.

New SOS text-based counselling service

The SOS has also launched a text-based service called SOS Care Text.

This is because it recognises that some people may prefer to text rather than call the hotline when they’re in distress.

The launch of this service is timely, as most of those who took the SOS survey also said they preferred to text.

Get help for suicidal thoughts

It’s disheartening to know that young people in Singapore are still finding it necessary to take their lives.

That’s why if you or someone you know need help, do not keep quiet about it. There are various avenues and people willing to help.

Do call SOS’ 24-hour hotline at 1800 221-4444 or send a message to SOS Care Text.

Featured image adapted from Unsplash.