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The suicide numbers published by the Samaritans of Singapore are worrying but not surprising, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic (452 suicides reported last year, highest since 2012, July 9).
As a suicide prevention advocate, I strongly encourage people to start equipping themselves with the right knowledge and skills to help develop and deliver interventions that can improve mental health effectively and efficiently in our communities, workplaces and schools - especially in the area of suicide prevention.
While each situation is different, it's important to be aware of warning signs that someone may be considering suicide.
These include withdrawing from family and social circles, losing interest in once-enjoyed activities and expressing hopelessness and helplessness.
When we are aware, we can take action to check in with this person to make sure that he is okay.
We all play a part in suicide prevention. Ignoring concerns doesn't make the risk of suicide disappear.
Friends, families, colleagues and religious leaders may be able to help ease the pain and find solutions to help, from mental health care to spiritual care to a good friendship.
Sometimes a buddy who will sit with them can be that difference between life and death. A start to the conversation can be a simple "are you free for coffee?".
Having been through a crisis and having even tried to take my life once changed my perspective of people undergoing depression and being suicidal.
I am thankful for a friend who asked the right questions and helped me see things differently.
If you feel someone may be thinking about suicide, or has difficulty with mental health, approach him to talk.
Remember, talking about suicide doesn't "give someone the idea" to self-harm. Trust your suspicions and take all threats of suicide seriously.
With the right knowledge and the right skillset to approach someone at risk, everyone can play the role of gatekeeper and save a life.
National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868
Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
Care Corner Counselling Centre: 6353-1180
To read the full article on The Straits Times, click here.