World Suicide Prevention Day was commemorated just two days ago to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented. For a country that still criminalises suicide how has Singapore fared?
I personally know of 4 suicide cases in the last 3 months alone and all went unreported.
According to the The Straits Times, the 2016 Report on Registration of Births and Deaths found that after a downward trend over three years, the number of people who killed themselves went up slightly in 2016. A total of 429 people took their own lives last year, up from 409 in 2015, 415 in 2014 , and 422 in 2013. The newspaper also reported that these figures are “in line” with those of most developed countries, which range between eight and 10 suicides per 100,000 people.
Our national media has an unwritten rule to underreport suicides so as to discourage copycats, but I wish they would rethink this because it is clearly not working. Suicide is still misunderstood by many. Not talking about it and “downplaying” does not help.
There are now discussions to decriminalise suicide and AWARE has been quite vocal asking for more compassion instead of enforcement in dealing with suicidal people.