According the latest figures from the Singapore Police, more people have been arrested for suicide attempts. In 2014, 901 were arrested for suicide attempts, a sharp rise of 4.5% as compared to 2013.
The figures for suicide deaths in 2014 is unknown but the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) reported that they see a 260% rise in the number of people seeking help via email from 2009 to 2014. According to a psychiatrist from Gleneagles Medical Centre, Dr Adrian Wang said that young women are more likely to attempt suicide but the death occurrence are from attempted suicides are higher among older men.
Executive director of SOS Christine Wong said young people in Singapore are facing difficult times balancing work and family time:
“They may face difficulties balancing work and personal life or of starting their own families, yet they are not able to share their troubles with parents or siblings.”
The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) admitted 600 people aged 20 to 29 in 2014, an increase of 50 from 2013. Similarly, the National University Hospital (NUH) admitted 120 people aged between 19 to 29 in 2014, nearly threefold from 45 in 2013.
Dr Mok Yee Ming, head of Mood Disorder Unit at IMH, said that young people are more pressurised these days because of materialism:
“Compared to the past, there is an increasing pressure to attain independence more quickly by renting a space of their own or relocating overseas for work. The concept of material success may have shifted over the years and young people may impose pressure on themselves to attain that level of success.”
Singapore has the longest working hours in the world of 2389.4 hours in a year. The Singapore Prime Minister however do not intend to lower working hours or introduce measures to help Singaporeans tide over their financial difficulties whether in cost of living, housing prices or family building. PM Lee Hsien Loong has also recently reiterated that Singapore is not suited to have work-life balance:
“The Scandinavians have a lot of kids, and they are content to have three-quarters of a career. They work hard but they don’t work 12 or 18 hours a day. They finish work at 3pm or 4pm, they fetch their kids from childcare, go home and spend time with them.
It’s a balance, it’s a different kind of society and we are not like that. These are choices that we have to make for ourselves.”