Suicide remains leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 29 in S’pore

There were a total of 400 reported suicides in Singapore in 2019, up from 397 in 2018, Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) said in a release in Aug. 3, 2020.

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Suicides increased across most age groups

Most age groups registered a slight increase in the number of suicide deaths in 2019.

Deaths as a result of suicide dropped to 8.00 per 100,000 Singapore residents from 8.36 in 2018.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for youths aged 10 to 29.

Notably, the number of suicide deaths amongst those aged 20 to 29 years remains highest compared to all other age groups.

20 to 29 years old group vulnerable

In 2019, 71 youths aged between 20 and 29 years took their own lives.

Suicide accounts for about one-third of all reported deaths in this age group.

Seeking help

Of those who revealed their age, youths between 20 to 29 years old accounted for approximately 17 per cent of total calls attended to on the 24-hour hotline, and making up for about 37 per cent of Email Befriending clients.

In particular, the number of calls from this age group rose to 4,124, up from 3,396 calls in the previous fiscal year ending March 2019.

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Problems encountered

Through interactions with clients, SOS observed that these individuals often cite issues with romantic relationships, difficulties coping with one’s mental health and struggles managing challenging situations as contributing factors that led to their acute distress.

In a survey recently conducted by SOS to understand the community’s perception towards suicide, one in three in the 20 to 29 age group, responded that they will not consider contacting others for help when they are emotionally overwhelmed.

Stigmatising beliefs around suicide emerged as a common barrier to seeking help for this group.

The fear of embarrassment, being judged, along with the sense of hopelessness that nothing will help, were prominent reasons that surfaced in the survey findings.

A total of 2,497 respondents participated in the survey, of which 580 were aged 20 to 29.

Gasper Tan, Chief Executive of SOS, said: “While the rise in calls is an encouraging sign that youths are recognising the importance of their mental health and need for early intervention, the high number of suicide deaths in this age group is concerning.”

“Much more remains to be done as a community to further understand and address the issues that may prevent our youths from seeking help”.

Highlighting the integral role of advocacy in recent years, he added: “As the lead agency in suicide prevention, SOS will continue to harness these efforts, drawing on the strength, support and network of the community in our programmes and outreach”.

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SOS text-based service introduced

The launch of SOS’ text-based service, SOS Care Text, has been brought forward in recognition of the hesitation of calling the hotline for some individuals in distress or contemplating suicide and their preference for another option through text messaging.

Referring to the increase in the number of calls into the 24-hour Hotline and emails during the Circuit Breaker period, Tan said: “During these trying times, it is crucial that SOS is able to readily provide an alternative form of emotional support while catering to the changing communication preferences of the community.”

Respondents to the SOS survey had also indicated text-based services as the most preferred platform to seek help, reflecting the timely introduction of this offering.

About SOS

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is a secular, non-profit suicide prevention centre.

Established 1969, SOS has developed into a professionally run and managed organisation that adopts a holistic approach to suicide-related topics, focusing on prevention, intervention and postvention, an intervention conducted after a suicide for loved ones and friends.

With the mission to be an available lifeline to anyone in crisis, SOS offers emotional support to people in crisis, thinking of suicide, or affected by suicide.

All information shared with SOS is treated as confidential and people can choose to remain anonymous.

Top photo via Unsplash

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“Siguro isa yun sa mga character ng pagiging gay. Kasi nga being gay, halos in general, survivalist eh,” is what Ramon Busa of The Golden Gays told Preen.ph in a when asked about how their group of elderly drag queens remains in good spirits despite facing hardships. 

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Photos courtesy of Jack Alindahao

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‘Absolutely devastating’: Tributes paid after death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in Roscommon shooting

Updated 3 hours ago

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has paid tribute this morning to Detective Garda Colm Horkan who died after being shot in Castlerea, Co Roscommon overnight. 

Det Garda Horkan died following an incident in Castlerea which happened shortly before midnight. He was on duty at the time. 

It is believed that his official firearm was taken from him during the incident and he was shot with it. 

Paying tribute today, the Taoiseach extended his deepest sympathies to Det Garda Horkan’s family and friends of the Garda.

“Every day our Gardaí put themselves on the frontline of crime prevention, on behalf of all of us. This requires regular acts of bravery and courage. Sometimes the outcome is tragic and a Garda makes the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties,” said Varadkar. 

“Our thoughts today are with all those grieving as a result of this tragic incident,” he said. 

Garda Representative Association president Jim Mulligan paid tribute to Det Garda Horkan and extended sympathies to his family. 

Mulligan said Horkan was as an “experienced detective greatly respected by colleagues”. 

He is survived by his father, sister and four brothers. 

Shocked and saddened at the killing of a member of An Garda Siochana in Castlerea. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his community and all his colleagues who continue to bravely protect us all from harm every day.

— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD)

President Michael D Higgins said Det Garda Horkan’s death in Castlerea comes “as a shock to us all”. 

“As President of Ireland I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the Garda, and to all those who have been affected by this tragedy.

An Garda Síochána play a crucial role in our communities and this loss of life is traumatic for our society as a whole.

“I have contacted the Garda Commissioner to express my deepest sympathies on this terrible loss of a member of the Force,” said Higgins. 

In a statement this morning, Minister for Justice & Equality Charlie Flanagan said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened at the shooting of a Garda member in Roscommon last night and a full murder investigation is underway. 

“The brave Detective Garda who died last night died in the line of duty, serving and protecting the community,” said Flanagan.

“His death will cause untold heartbreak to his family, loved ones and all his colleagues in An Garda Síochána across the whole country. It is also a loss to wider Irish society. His heroism and the debt of gratitude which we owe to him and his family will never be forgotten.”

‘Huge shock’

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, TD for Roscommon Galway Denis Naughten, said Det Garda Horkan’s death was “absolutely devastating”. 

Naughten said the reaction to the shooting locally is “one of huge shock”.

“The community in Castlerea would work very closely on an ongoing basis with Gardaí and particularly over the last number of weeks” due to Covid-19, he said. 

“This is a huge shock to the community as a whole, to the Garda force throughout the Roscommon-Longford Garda division which would be a close-knit Garda force here. Everyone knows everyone, it is a rural division,” said Naughten. 

“It is a huge blow to the force, to the community and, of course, particularly to the Garda’s family,” he said. 

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Awful news this morning coming from @GardaTraffic with the death of a Garda colleague in Castlerea. Thoughts from all @PoliceServiceNI with his family, friends and colleagues at such a difficult time. pic.twitter.com/e4ftmQYc20

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Local Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane, meanwhile, said the incident was a “truly shocking incident”.

“This is a truly terrible incident and has caused major shock amongst the entire community in Castlerea and the wider region,” said Kerrane.

“My thoughts are with the Garda’s family and colleagues at this very difficult time. I hope that whoever is responsible is speedily brought to justice,” the TD said. 

In a statement this morning, The Policing Authority’s Karen Shelley said: “The killing of a Garda, as well as being a wilful denial of the right to life, is an attack on the essence and the foundations of our democracy.”

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“It is with deepest sadness An Garda Siochána confirms the death of our colleague, resulting from fatal gunshot wounds received during an incident in Castlerea shortly before midnight,” a statement from An Garda Siochána said. 

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