Family 'disconnect' drives young Singaporeans to suicide: charity

July 30, 2014

Singapore's youth suicide rate showed little sign of dropping in 2013 as a charity group Wednesday blamed a widening "disconnect" with family members in the prosperous, hi-tech city state.

The number of people below the age of 30 who took their own lives held steady at 100, from 101 in 2012, the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) said in a statement—still nearly double the figure of 58 in 2011.

Suicides in general dipped by 10 percent to 422 in 2013, after hitting an all-time high of 467 the year before prompting rising concern.

People under 30 account for an average 20 percent of the total number of those who committed suicide in the past decade, the charity said.

"Suicide is tragic, and for the youths who died by suicide, it is a disturbing indicator of the level of distress they were experiencing," said SOS, which aims to prevent suicides by providing emotional support through private counselling and a 24-hour telephone hotline.

Overall Singapore's suicide rate of 9.29 per 100,000 people in 2013 is lower than 24 per 100,000 in Japan and 12.7 in Hong Kong.

But Christine Wong, SOS's executive director, said interactions with suicidal youth have shown "a general disconnect between them and their families".

"There appears to be a lack of effective communication and understanding between ," she added.

The group said communication within families may be encumbered by young people being "generally more comfortable using online or virtual interfaces rather than conversing face-to-face".

"They also often use a lingo which their parents may not be familiar with."

Singapore is one of the world's most wired societies, with nearly 90 percent of households having access to the Internet and a mobile phone penetration rate of 154 percent.

SOS urged families to lend support to youths facing difficulties with life's challenges.

"The lack of it can increase the sense of isolation and helplessness when the youths are experiencing some problems," it said.

Suicide cases have consistently hovered around two percent of total deaths in Singapore, an affluent city-state of 5.4 million residents known for its pressure-laden school system.

Despite a virtually full employment rate, Singapore also has a highly competitive work environment.

Suicide is an offence in the compact island-state, and anyone who survives an attempt faces a jail term of up to a year, a fine or both.

Explore further: Suicides hit all-time high in Singapore in 2012

Related Stories

Suicides hit all-time high in Singapore in 2012

July 12, 2013
Suicides in Singapore hit an all-time high of 487 in 2012 as more young people bogged down by stress and relationship woes took their own lives, a charity group dealing with the problem said Friday.

Financial crisis drives up Greek suicide rate

September 10, 2013
Suicides increased by 45 percent during the first four years of Greece's financial crisis, a mental health aid group said Tuesday, warning there are indications of a further "very large rise" over the past two years.

China's suicide rate 'among highest in world'

September 8, 2011
A person tries to kill themselves in China every two minutes, the government and state media said Thursday, giving the country one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

S. Korean school suicides total 139 last year

August 20, 2013
Nearly 140 South Korean school students killed themselves in 2012, according to a new government report that cited family problems, depression and exam stress as the main triggers.

Drug abusers at risk for suicidal thoughts, survey finds

January 16, 2014
(HealthDay)—American adults who use illicit drugs are much more likely to think about suicide than those in the general population, a new federal government survey says.

Study finds that suicides are far more likely to occur after midnight

June 2, 2014
A new study provides novel evidence suggesting that suicides are far more likely to occur between midnight and 4 a.m. than during the daytime or evening.

Recommended for you

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.