SINGAPORE: As the causes of suicides are often complex and multi-faceted, the authorities take a whole-of-government approach in dealing with suicides in the young, said Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin on Tuesday (Sep 13).
Speaking in Parliament in response to a number of questions, he said his ministry has come together with several other agencies like the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) to further understand the triggers for suicide in the young.
The agencies will also devise effective strategies, including public education on prevention, towards building better mental resilience among Singapore’s youths. “This will better inform inter-agency efforts to address the stressors and influences that drive young persons towards self-harm,” added Mr Tan.
Despite a decline in the overall suicide rate last year, the number of teen suicides rose to the highest in recent years, according to the Samaritans of Singapore.
In response to a supplementary question from MP Saktiandi Supaat, Mr Tan said the Government also keeps track of efforts in other countries, and the Government is “always open to pick up good practices”. He reiterated that while Singapore’s numbers are admittedly low, “every suicide case is one too many”.
Separately, the Education Ministry is undertaking a “further review” of its strategies and possible interventions to prevent teen suicides, Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary said in Parliament.
He said teachers explicitly teach social and emotional skills, as well as coping strategies in primary and secondary schools. Schools also provide opportunities to build resilience when students experience, manage and overcome challenges through co-curricular activities and outdoor education programmes, he added.