Suicidal Situations In Singapore-Why Suicide?

“Among those aged above 50 who attempted suicide and were referred in the last financial year, a third of the 34 men struggled with health issues.”Todayonline 25 Jul 2012
“LTA says that since 2006, 92 people have fallen onto the tracks, whether by accident or otherwise. The 1.5-metre barriers are high enough to deter attempted suicides.”Source
[Editors’ Note] The mainstream media in Singapore usually refrain from reporting suicidal cases and the reported ones are much less than the actual situations on the ground.
One reason is to prevent copycat-suicidal cases. A few years ago, a jobless man committed suicide by jumping into the MRT track at Chinese Garden MRT and died of a terrible death. His plight was reported in the mainstream media and the bereaved family received a lot of donations from the kind-hearted Singaporeans (mostly from the working classes). However, it sparked a few more suicidal cases of similar suicide cases causing disruptions to the MRTs. It was unclear if it was self-censorship or a directive coming from the Government, there were a media restraint in reporting such cases since then to prevent copycat suicides.
It is no doubt that Singapore has one of highest income in the world, however like in many fast paced cities the stress can be unmanageable than in some countries. Some of common reasons for suicides include
  • Debts and money woes. Especially if one is involved in gambling or borrowing from Loan Sharks and will be driven to the edge due to the exorbitant interest rates. This problem exists even before the opening of the two Casinos, but the latter will likely to aggravate the situation. Losing one’s job and the ensuing self esteem and money problems is another common cause of suicides.
  • Illness. Due to high cost of medical care, there is a saying that “it is better to die rather than long term sickness”. Often a sickness such as cancer, aids or stroke can easily wipe out the entire savings of the low income group. Thus, some choose to die instead of becoming a burden to the family.
  • Family tension. Quite a few high profile cases involved one parent or both taking their families with them due to irreconcilable breakdown in marriages.
  • Old age. Quite common among the aged. Loneliness, neglected by their children, sickness often drive the old folks to commit suicides.
  • Relationship woe. Teenagers commit suicide due to school stress or relationship problems are common.

In 2010, there were 8 cases of suicide by drowning and 229 cases of suicide by jumping down from high rise buildings out of 353 cases of suicide in total. Foreigners accounted for 57 (out of 353) and 52 (out of 401) suicides in 2010 and 2009 respectively. 
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Samples of reported Suicidal cases:

Source: AsiaOne Jul 26,2010

In 2009, a total of 401 confirmed suicides were recorded. 267 of them were male, while the remaining 134 were female.
The suicide rate increased from 8.76 per 100,000 residents in 2008 to 9.35 in 2009.
These figures were revealed in a press release by Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a confidential hotline for people in crisis.
Young men in the age group of 20-29 were found to be at high risk of suicide. Those who called in to the SOS hotline talked about difficulties and anxieties in coping with life’s stressors.
Youths were also another high risk group. Such callers were concerned about their studies, family and relationship problems, as well as crisis and identity-related issues.
On 8 September, SOS will hold a workshop on suicide prevent among young people, conducted by Professor Graham Martin who is the national advisor on suicide prevention to the Australian government. Prof Martin is also the keynote speaker for a conference on suicide prevention on 9 September.
SOS handles an average of 3,330 calls per month, or 110 calls per day. The 24-hour hotline (1800-221-4444) is manned by trained volunteers. Ms Christine Wong, the Executive Director of SOS, said that the organisation’s ability to help those in need is limited by the number of volunteers.
Those who are interested in volunteering with SOS may e-mail to Those who wish to know more about the upcoming workshop and conference may visit for more information.
Singapore now a suicide capital

Source: The Straits Times


Suicide is now a significant public health risk in Singapore, responsible for an average of one death every day, a senior government official said yesterday. 
For every suicide, there are seven unsuccessful attempts and suicide is now among the top three causes of death among 15-to-35 year olds.
These disturbing findings were presented at the start of a three-day Asia-Pacific conference on suicide prevention.
They are the product of a study of Singapore’s suicide figures by psychiatrist Chia Boon Hock, who has shed light not only on the main groups at risk of suicide but also the reasons why people choose to take their own lives. Mental and physical illnesses, it appears, are a significant factor.
Of the more than 1,700 people who killed themselves here between 2000 and 2004, up to seven in 10 were affected by mental illness in one form or another.
Yesterday’s main speaker, Permanent Secretary (Health) Yong Ying-I, said local suicide rates were a significant concern.
And though, as elsewhere in the world, rates are highest among the elderly, youth suicide has become a particular problem.
“This is potential lost,” she said, “the potential to contribute to their societies and economies … to live full and meaningful lives.”
She urged those who have direct contact with at-risk groups, such as bereaved elderly people or young people with relationship problems, to help identify them early.
Experts agree suicides are often the result of an interaction of factors, which need a “multi-pronged, integrated and comprehensive” approach. Moreover, causes of suicide vary depending on the person’s age, gender, ethnic group, marital status and other social aspects.
Generally, young people take their lives because of relationship woes, such as unrequited love, or study stress.
Among adults, mental illness, or stress brought on by marital, financial or employment problems, are frequent “push factors”.
But while financial woes do push some elderly people over the brink, many kill themselves because of health or family related issues.
“They fear being a burden to the family,” said Chia.