Create a happier, kinder environment

Of late, we have read about the rise in the number of young people committing suicide ("A black plaster, to talk about feelings"; Sunday, and "Teen suicides 'highest in 15 years but overall rate falls'"; July 26).

What can we do to reverse this trend? We need to go back to the reason behind suicide - being deeply unhappy. Hence, there is a need to make every single person happy. It is closely linked to how we view success.

Many want material comforts and recognition, and if they fall short of achieving these, it can result in a lot of unhappiness. Others may have achieved them, but struggle and push beyond their limits to keep them, resulting in ill health.

An alternative view of success would offer a much greater chance of happiness.

We need to focus on social good: Taking an interest in serving others, especially the less fortunate; being grateful for easy access to clean water, food, education, housing and healthcare; and being positive and seeing the good behind challenges.

Surely, these contribute to contentment and happiness.

Also, we, as individuals and as a society, should not view "failure" harshly.


  • 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

    Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928

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

Kinder responses to "failures" and the creation of a kinder and more forgiving environment are in order, so that our young, especially, do not descend into depression and suicide.

We should also refrain from comparing the material achievements of others with the perceived lack of achievement of ourselves or our loved ones.

Each of us has potential waiting to emerge and be tapped. However, it takes time and effort to realise what that potential is. It should be a source of joy rather than a source of stress to make it come to fruition.

It is high time we revisited our goals in life so that we become happier as individuals and as a nation.

Radiah Salim (Dr)
Club Heal

FORUM NOTE: Club Heal is a social service organisation that helps people who have mental illness

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Create a happier, kinder environment'. Print Edition | Subscribe