SINGAPORE: A newly released report by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has shed light on the prevalence of suicidal thoughts among adults in Singapore, emphasizing the urgent need for early detection and intervention. The report reveals startling figures, indicating that nearly 8 per cent of adults in the country have experienced suicidal thoughts, with approximately 20 per cent of them developing a plan, and around 10 per cent attempting suicide.
In a bid to understand the root causes of suicide, the IMH conducted interviews with relatives of individuals who had taken their own lives. The aim was to uncover the experiences and thoughts of the deceased leading up to their tragic end.
One of the key findings of the report is the temporal proximity between suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, with more than 80 per cent of individuals attempting suicide within one year of harboring such thoughts. The report stressed the critical importance of early detection and timely intervention to prevent suicides.
According to the IMH, individuals with mood disorders are at a higher risk of planning suicide. Additionally, certain demographic groups require special attention when assessing suicide risk. These include individuals with anxiety disorders, those undergoing parental separation or divorce, and those who experienced the death of a parent before the age of 18.
The Ministry of Health in Singapore had previously reported a concerning rise in local suicide deaths, with numbers escalating from 429 in 2016 to 452 in 2020. This upward trend highlights the need for effective strategies and mental health initiatives to address the growing mental health crisis in the nation.
On a global scale, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that over 700,000 people worldwide commit suicide annually. In response to this alarming statistic, authorities are committed to reducing the global suicide rate by one-third by the year 2030.
The IMH report serves as a call to action for increased mental health awareness, better access to mental health resources, and the development of targeted interventions to support individuals at risk. Collaborative efforts from healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the community are crucial in achieving the shared goal of preventing suicide and promoting mental well-being in Singapore and beyond.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to one of the following helplines for immediate assistance:
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1-767 (24-hour hotline) or 9151 1767 (24-hour CareText via WhatsApp)
- Singapore Association of Mental Health: 1800 283 7019
- Emergency helpline of the Institute of Mental Health: 6389 2222 (24-hour hotline)