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Suicide among youth and young adults hard to ignore

On Dec 18 last year, Kim Jong-hyun from the South Korean K-pop band SHINee was reported to have taken his own life because of mounting pressure to perform, leading to depression.

Suicide among youth and young adults hard to ignore

TODAY file photo

Kenneth Tan Sheng Han

On Dec 18 last year, Kim Jong-hyun from the South Korean K-pop band SHINee was reported to have taken his own life because of mounting pressure to perform, leading to depression.

Back home, the O-Level results were out last Friday on Jan 12. That afternoon, in a case classified by the police as an unnatural death, a 16-year-old was found dead at the foot of a housing block in Jurong West, leading to talk on social media on whether he may not have done well for his examinations.

The suicide prevention centre, the Samaritans of Singapore, reported that suicide cases in 2016 for those aged 10 to 19 was 22, and 77 for those aged 20 to 29, which works out to about one to two deaths a month for the first age group and six deaths a month for the second age group. Suicide is also highest that year among those in the 20-29 age group compared to all other age groups.

As Singapore strives to be the best in every aspect, we still have a lot to catch up on when it comes to fighting the dark side of this pursuit of perfection.

Young people today live and breathe on a different level to the generations before them. They are constantly pressured into achieving better goals with higher expectations.

Although there are support systems in place such as counsellors and external community partners in schools to help students, do they know who and when to seek help?

Even for older adults, acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step in tackling it, but we often overlook the signs or pretend the problem is not there.

Neglecting to care for our mental health could prove detrimental in the long run.

At the school level, the support network to look into such needs should be reviewed periodically.

Everyone has a part to play to seek help and not trivialise the problems — parents, teachers, friends and even the individual who is suffering.

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