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Multi-agency research group to study suicides among children, youth

Representatives from multiple agencies will form a research workgroup to study suicides, and suicidal and self-harming behaviours among children and youths up to the age of 35, the Health and Education ministries announced yesterday.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

Representatives from multiple agencies will form a research workgroup to study suicides, and suicidal and self-harming behaviours among children and youths up to the age of 35, the Health and Education ministries announced yesterday.

This was in response to calls by the NurtureSG Taskforce for more emphasis on the mental health of this group.

Figures provided by the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) previously showed that 27 of the 409 reported suicides in 2015 were from the 10 to 19 age group — matching the peak in 2001.

Between 2002 and 2014, the number of suicides in this age group ranged between 10 and 22. Among those aged 20 to 29, there were 79 suicides that year — the highest among the age groups.

The new workgroup will use existing data to try to figure out the factors that put these children and youths at higher risk of taking their own lives or hurting themselves. It will also look at ways to prevent such situations.

The workgroup will be chaired by Associate Professor Dr Daniel Fung, who is chairman of the Medical Board at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Besides the Education and Health ministries, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Health Promotion Board, IMH, Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Singapore Armed Forces, and the State Courts will be involved.

Separately, research on youth suicides is also being conducted by a group from the Ministry of Health, IMH, the Forensic Medicine Division of the HSA, the SOS and the courts.

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