Allocate more resources to preventing suicides

More needs to be done in Singapore's mental wellness scene, to allocate resources and equip our young people with the coping mechanism to deal with adversity and an uncertain future.

With a worrying trend of young people taking their lives, we need to step up our outreach ("Teen suicides highest in 15 years but overall rate falls'"; July 26).

Unfortunately, schools may be equipped with counsellors, but they are often not adequately equipped with the right skillset to connect with young people and manage those with mental "unwellness".

All educators and counsellors in schools should attend mental health first aid training.

School leaders need to be more open to invite experts to organise assembly talks on youth suicide prevention for students and parents.

As Asians, we often shy away from taboo topics such as suicide. We need to shape our society such that we are open to ask if someone is suicidal or has thoughts of committing suicide.

In this way, we help the other party to understand that someone acknowledges their intentions and is watching their well-being.

The number of youth suicides will continue to rise if we do not take the issue seriously and build a national mental wellness ecosystem which equips and trains our parents, educators and youth workers.

More importantly, there is a need to equip our young with a simple Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) coping mechanism - asking the right questions to determine signs of suicide intentions, persuading oneself or others to live positively, and referring at-risk people to professional help.

We need to take responsibility and be committed to be gatekeepers of our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Delane Lim Zi Xuan


HELPLINES

Samaritans of Singapore:
1800-221-4444

Singapore Association for Mental Health:
1800-283-7019

Institute of Mental Health's Mobile Crisis Service:
6389-2222

Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin):
1800-353-5800

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'Allocate more resources to preventing suicides'. Print Edition | Subscribe