Fewer suicides reported in Singapore in 2021

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SINGAPORE - The number of reported suicides in the Republic fell to 378 last year, down 16.3 per cent from 2020.

Figures from Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) showed that suicide deaths among those aged 60 and above also declined, from 154 two years ago to 112 in 2021.

In a media statement on Friday (July 1), SOS attributed this to efforts by the authorities - together with the mental health sector and the community - to prioritise mental well-being and suicide prevention in the light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health.

The non-profit suicide prevention centre noted, however, that suicide remains the cause of the most number of deaths among people aged 10 to 29 for the past three years.

Deaths among this age group rose to 29.6 per cent of all suicides recorded here last year, SOS said, up from 22.3 per cent in 2020.

Among those aged between 10 and 19, suicide rose by 23.3 per cent - from 30 deaths in 2020 to 37 last year.

SOS chief executive Gasper Tan said the overall decrease in number was encouraging, noting that more people are seeking help.

"Comparing 2020 with 2021, our crisis hotline has seen a 127 per cent increase in calls from young people aged 10 to 19, expressing a strong cry for help that cannot be ignored," he said.

He noted that demand has grown for the group's text messaging service, SOS CareText.

Data is not available for SOS CareText, which was launched in 2020 and expanded into a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service this year.

Noting that it had introduced various youth-oriented programmes over the years, SOS called for greater effort to enhance and expand current initiatives to tackle suicide among youth.

Dr Jared Ng, senior consultant and chief of the Institute of Mental Health's Department of Emergency and Crisis Care, said: "Young patients we encountered have been reporting various stressors in their lives, such as interpersonal issues with their family and friends, academic stress, achievement stress and future job stress."

Preventing youth suicides requires coordination among various sectors - such as education, social services and health - as well as support and ...

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