Suicide prevention is everyone's business

Suicide is a tragic global health problem ("Suicidal drownings a growing concern" by Mr Richard Tan Ming Kirk of the Singapore Life Saving Society; Monday).

Tragic, because suicide is often preventable through intervention.

Suicide death, no matter how it is caused, comes at a great cost to family and friends.

Last year, there were 415 suicide deaths in Singapore, which averaged out to one to two suicide deaths every day.

As part of Samaritans of Singapore's (SOS) ongoing efforts to prevent suicide, we offer a range of services to people who are feeling distressed or in need of emotional support.

SOS runs a 24-hour hotline manned by trained volunteers (1800-221-4444) to provide emotional support to people who are in distress.

Those who prefer to write can e-mail pat@sos.org.sg and SOS will reply within two working days.

SOS has been increasingly extending specialist counselling support to clients who are in crisis, thinking of suicide or affected by suicide.

Counselling support is provided by professional counsellors and social workers.

At SOS, we believe that suicide prevention is everyone's business.

While we strive to uphold the mission of being an available lifeline to anyone in crisis, the involvement of the community is equally important.

We have also been actively reaching out to the community on public education and the awareness of suicide and suicide prevention, through various platforms, such as talks, workshops and campaigns.

We encourage people who are feeling distressed to approach someone they trust and talk about their issues.

It is important for them to know that it is OK to seek support and help when in need.

SOS has also been raising greater awareness of the warning signs of suicide so that we can look out for one another.

Christine Wong (Ms)
Executive Director
Samaritans of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'Suicide prevention is everyone's business'. Print Edition | Subscribe