Call for action to tackle teen suicide problem

Societal stereotypes that demand men be tough and able to handle all challenges could be one of the barriers preventing male teenagers from seeking help.
Societal stereotypes that demand men be tough and able to handle all challenges could be one of the barriers preventing male teenagers from seeking help.PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

There should be urgent concern over the reported statistics on suicides among teenage boys (Record 19 teenage boys committed suicide last year, July 30).

The number of such suicides in 2017 was seven, but even that is a needless loss of young lives.

We need to ask ourselves serious questions as to why these teenagers just snapped and lost the will to live.

As a small island state without any natural resources, Singapore's only resource is its people, and reading about the rising suicide rate is painful.

Singapore has progressed economically beyond anyone's imagination, with a standard of living that is among the highest in the world.

But has this come at a price as pressure in society builds up in different areas and across age groups and genders?

It is imperative that parents, religious and community groups, and government ministries pay special attention to this worrying development.

There are many reasons that cause a person to harbour suicidal thoughts. It could be work pressure, examination stress, family or financial issues.

Family, friends and community volunteers all play important roles in banishing suicidal thoughts from someone contemplating the act.

Equally important are various help groups in their efforts to strengthen mental health through varied educational programmes and activities.

It is a tragic state of affairs if a news report on teen suicide ends up to be just that - a statistical report and not much else is done.

Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2019, with the headline 'Call for action to tackle teen suicide problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe