Learn to see warning signs of suicide
Shan You Counselling introduces workshop in light of rising number of suicides
About 15 people try to kill themselves every day in Singapore and at least one of them succeeds.
This disturbing statistic comes from Ms Jo-an Ng, 30, an allied health professional in a hospital who also volunteers at Shan You Counselling Centre.
Samaritans of Singapore figures show that 429 people committed suicide last year, 20 more than in 2015.
The rising number of suicides has prompted Shan You to introduce a suicide awareness training workshop targeting the community.
"The first step to suicide prevention is to talk about it first as a society and as a community," said Ms Ng, who is one of two accredited trainers conducting the workshop today as part of World Suicide Prevention Day, which falls tomorrow.
"I want the participants to know that it is difficult to talk about it but this is why we (mental health professionals) are here.
"It is also about giving them the skills when the need (for suicide intervention) arises."
The other trainer, Ms Celestine Chua, 28, said the topic of suicide is still taboo in Singapore.
She said: "If you know somebody whose loved one died from suicide, it is unlikely the bereaved will tell you the real reason. Usually, they will say it was an illness or accident."
She recalled handling her first incident as a case coordinator at a school after a student called to say he wanted to die that night.
Ms Chua managed to convince the student to see the school counsellor the next day.
But she was "anxious the entire night wondering if he would come in tomorrow, wondering if I was the last person he spoke to, wondering what I could have done".
Ms Chua said warning signs to look out for include someone saying he is going to a better place, missing work, or giving away prized possessions.
She warned against dismissing such signs.
"There is no one specific group or typical profile for suicidal people. Not all of them show they are in distress. Some are already emotionally numb."
The workshop will be held at Shan You at Block 5, Upper Boon Keng Road from 9am to 1pm today. It costs $50 a person and 30 slots are available.
Shan You will also hold a workshop on mental health at the Geylang East Public Library on Oct 7 as part of World Mental Health Day on Oct 10.
- Shan You Counselling Centre: 6741-9293
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
- Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788
- TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
- Community Health Assessment Team: 6493-6500 or 6493-6501