Voices Of Youth

Curbing suicides: Support, be vigilant

Posed photo of a stressed woman.
Posed photo of a stressed woman. PHOTO: ST FILE

More teenagers are having trouble coping with mental health issues, with more of them resorting to suicide ("More teens call SOS about mental health problems"; Nov 2, and "Teen suicides 'highest in 15 years but overall rate falls'"; July 26).

We need to think about the precautions we can take to prevent these numbers from increasing.

Apart from examination stress, some students have to deal with bullies online and troubles in the real world, which may add to their unhappiness and cause them distress.

Students usually isolate themselves and share their woes only with their peers. They fear that teachers and parents may not understand, especially when their struggles concern boy-girl relationships.

Teachers, parents and students all have a role in preventing suicides. An effective way of identifying at-risk students is to look out for possible symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Students are in an especially good position to spot peers in distress, as most students would confide in their friends for support and guidance.

Counselling could help mitigate the distress students feel. This can be achieved by having a counsellor stationed in school at all times.

Schools should inform students of organisations they can contact should they be having a hard time. Only support, guidance and vigilance can prevent the number of suicides from rising.

Lim Tzer Chyan, 15,
Secondary 3 student


HELPLINES

Samaritans Of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

Tinkle Friend (for primary school-aged children): 1800-274-4788

Singapore Association For Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

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

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

Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'Curbing suicides: Support, be vigilant'. Print Edition | Subscribe