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Male teen suicides in 2018 hit 27-year high: SOS

SINGAPORE — Suicides among males here aged 10 to 19 rose sharply last year, with a total of 19 deaths recorded — the highest since 1991, and nearly three times the seven cases seen in 2017.

The the Samaritans of Singapore said that for every 10 suicides in 2018, at least seven were committed by men.

The the Samaritans of Singapore said that for every 10 suicides in 2018, at least seven were committed by men.

SINGAPORE — Suicides among males here aged 10 to 19 rose sharply last year, with a total of 19 deaths recorded — the highest since 1991, and nearly three times the seven cases seen in 2017. 

The figures provided on Monday (July 29) by the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a non-profit suicide prevention centre, show a prevalence of suicides here among youth and males, which is of “significant societal concern”, it said. 

It added that for every 10 suicides last year, at least seven were committed by men.

These figures are a stark contrast to suicides involving females aged 10 to 19, with three reported cases in 2018, SOS said. 

Overall, suicides across Singapore rose by 10 per cent, with a total of 397 reported cases in 2018 compared to 361 the year before, said SOS. 

All age groups, excluding those aged 60 and above, registered an increase, it added. 

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for youth aged 10 to 29, with a total of 94 cases recorded last year. 

MALES ‘RELUCTANT’ TO SEEK HELP

Social stereotypes that demand men be tough and able to handle challenges could be a barrier to males seeking help, SOS said. 

It noted that among those who revealed their age and gender, males aged 10 to 19 made up only 30 per cent of incoming calls to its 24-hour hotline.

And of those who used SOS’ Email Befriending service — an online platform that offers emotional support — only 27 per cent of the 10-19 age group were males. 

Ms Wong Lai Chun, senior assistant director of SOS, said: “Men are stereotypically expected to be tough, stoic and financially stable. The slightest hint of vulnerability can be seen as an imperfection.” 

She also said that the constant pursuit of material and professional success may also be a factor. Placing material possessions above relationships, for instance, “creates distance” among friends and loved ones, weakening one’s support system over time. 

“This has to change. Men and women alike need to know that it is okay to be less than perfect and we need to educate the public to understand that a supportive and encouraging environment is far more beneficial than a judgemental one for our society” Ms Wong said.

YOUTH MORE WILLING TO REACH OUT 

Of those who wrote in to SOS’ Email Befriending service, more than 78 per cent were aged between 10 and 29. This was an increase of more than 56 per cent in its last fiscal year ending March 2019, SOS said. 

“The youth today seem to have greater awareness of the moments when they feel alone and helpless. They are more willing to reach out and explore available support avenues like our support services, social media and their peers,” Ms Wong said.

“Even so, it is disconcerting to know that many of our young feel unsupported through their darkest periods and see suicide as the only choice to end their pain and struggles”.

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suicide death Youth

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