Voices Of Youth

Going beyond suicide statistics

While the intention behind efforts to gain a deeper understanding of suicide is well-meant, it is a case of misplaced priorities (Qualitative study on reasons for suicide needed, Aug 4).

Although studying figures and percentages may indeed provide researchers with valuable insight to identify patterns, they could lose sight of the bigger picture - the untold and vastly differing stories of the lives lost to suicide.

Suicide is not a spur-of-the-moment affair, but instead begins with a gradual journey down a bleak path. And we are not powerless to stop it.

While I commend government efforts to raise awareness about depression and warning signs of suicide within schools, there must be a paradigm shift on a societal and cultural level.

We need to create safe spaces, be it within our schools, families or communities, for the vulnerable to vocalise their insecurities and fears to trusted companions. Only then can we ever truly stop this tragedy and remind these individuals of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tan Jen Han, 15

Secondary 3 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2018, with the headline 'Going beyond suicide statistics'. Print Edition | Subscribe