Forum: Everyone has role to play in suicide prevention

Posed photo of a person with depression.
Posed photo of a person with depression.PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

World Mental Health Day was observed on Oct 10, with the focus on suicide prevention. The aim was to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent this (Suicide prevention requires national response, Oct 5).

According to the World Health Organisation, close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, which translates to one such death every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29.

Suicide is a major public health problem. It is paramount that society and religions see it as such and craft policies to promote mental health.

The media can have both positive and negative effects, depending on how it portrays the issue.

Get people to talk about and decide against suicide. When one speaks of a commitment to live life, others who are struggling with emotional issues or suicidal thoughts may be encouraged to find the resources to survive the pain.

It can be a great comfort to people who feel isolated to know that we are all in this together and that we all suffer, at least some of the time. The person who commits suicide is not the only victim - society suffers, too, when someone opts out of life.

Sherman Goh Keng Hwee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'Everyone has role to play in suicide prevention'. Print Edition | Subscribe