Suicides in Singapore jump 10 percent, with highest number of cases involving teenage boys since 1991

The number of reported suicides in Singapore jumped 10 percent in 2018 as compared to the previous year, with a significant increase among teenage boys, according to data revealed today.

There were 397 reported suicides last year, as compared to 361 in 2017, of which 94 cases involved youths aged 10 to 29, as reflected by data from Samaritans of Singapore (SOS). The government-backed organization offers emotional support to individuals contemplating suicide.

Among them were 19 boys aged 10 to 19, which is the highest recorded number since 1991, said SOS in a press release. In 2017, seven teenage boys had taken their own lives, it added.

According to the group, suicide remains the leading cause of death among youths in Singapore. For every 10 youths who died from external causes, about six were a result of suicide.

Youths also make up the bulk (78 percent) of those who wrote to the organization’s befriending service, added SOS, which also offers emotional support to those who call its hotline.

Despite the available avenues of support, some youths still feel “unsupported through their darkest periods and see suicide as the only choice to end their pain and struggles,” senior assistant director Wong Lai Chun said in the press release.

Expectations from society that boys should be “tough and able to handle all challenges thrown at them” could be one of the reasons why some of them do not seek help.

“We live in a society that stresses the importance of masculine qualities as a measure of success. As a result, we grow impatient toward behaviors that seem to depict weakness,” Wong said.

“This has to change. Men and women alike need to know that it is OK to be less than perfect and we need to educate the public to understand that a supportive and encouraging environment is far more beneficial than a judgemental one for our society.”

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