In the latest statistics released on July 26 by the Samaritans of Singapore, the rate of suicide went up from 8.76 per 100,000 residents in 2008 to 9.35 in 2009.
A total of 401 people took their own lives, up from 364 in 2008.
Singapore battled its worst recession in 2009.
While suicide rates have been known to rise during bad times, the SOS statistics are showing more worryingly, that suicide rates among youths are on the rise as well.
The total number of suicides among those aged 10 to 19 years reached a six-year high in 2009, with 19 youths taking their own lives. This is a stark 58 per cent jump from a year earlier when 12 suicide cases among youths were reported.
Based on statistics from 1991 to now, there has been three clear peaks in suicide rates among youths in Singapore, occurring in 1998, 2001 and 2009, all of which coincided with the economic instability.
During the Asian financial crisis in 1998, youth suicides jumped from 22 deaths from 14 the year before. Similarly, youth suicides hit a record 27 deaths in 2001 during the economic downturn.
Suicides occur when a person’s pain exceeds his resources and his ability to cope. The key therefore is to increase the resources to enable people to cope or at least make known the availability of such resources. It is also imperative that we know how to read warning signs. Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs.
The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal – people talk about wanting to kill themselves. Do not dismiss such talk. Your immediate action is required!