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Teen attempts suicide 10 times in less than a year

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012
TNP
By Joyce Lim

On the rise

Suicide attempts are on the rise here, although statistics from the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) indicate that the number of people who succeed in their bids is falling, The Straits Times reported.

In 2010, 966 people were arrested for attempting suicide, up from 842 the year before.

SOS figures calculated the suicide rate here to be 7.85 suicides for every 100,000 people in 2010, down from 9.35 in 2009.

Overall, 353 people killed themselves here in 2010 and 401 did so the year before.

Dr Brian Yeo, a consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, told The New Paper that families of chronically suicidal family members are often "caught in a bind".

He said: "Do they react every time he or she threatens to commit suicide? Do they keep watch over them or is this just a cry for help?

"But then again, just because he or she didn't commit suicide the first two times, doesn't mean it won't happen on the third."

One way to judge whether the suicide threat is serious is to look at the attempt itself, Dr Yeo said.

For instance, did the person take just a few pills or was it an overdose?

Did the person slit his wrists or try to jump off a building? These are serious indicators, he said.

The other important gauge is whether the suicide attempt was planned.

"Did they buy certain things before the event, like bleach? Did they leave a note? Did they try to avoid the discovery of their intentions?" he said.

But these are just a guide, Dr Yeo stressed.

All three experts advise family members that the safety of the suicidal family member is paramount and to call the authorities for help when dealing with a suicide attempt.

Helplines

Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

joycel@sph.com.sg

estherng@sph.com.sg

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