Sept 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.
As a suicide prevention advocate, I hope more people can equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to develop and deliver interventions that can improve mental health in our community, workplaces and schools - especially in suicide prevention.
It is important to be aware of signs of suicidal ideation. These include withdrawing from family and social circles, losing interest in once-enjoyable activities, and expressing hopelessness and helplessness.
When we are aware, we can check to make sure the individual is all right, and encourage him to get professional help, if necessary. Just a simple question or invitation to meet for coffee can be the difference between life and death.
Today, the need is great, and there are not enough trained professionals and resources to meet the demand. We must continue to raise public awareness about suicide and its prevention.
We should also consider providing suicide prevention and intervention training programmes in schools, youth communities, student unions and inter-faith communities. According to the Samaritans of Singapore, suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 29.
All of us have a responsibility to be a "life gatekeeper". We are here to create hope and reach out to people who are struggling so they know we care and want to support them. Our actions, no matter how big or small, can make a difference.
When it comes to saving a person contemplating suicide, there is only one thing that one can do wrong. And that is to do nothing.
National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am to 8pm)
IMH Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444/1-767 (24 hours)
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788, www.tinklefriend.sg
Community Health Assessment Team: 6493-6500/1, www.chat.mentalhealth.sg
TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
TOUCH Care Line (for seniors, caregivers): 6804-6555
Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800