Singapore, May 9, 2022 (Monday) – More than 8 in 10 Singaporeans associate suicide with stigma and only one in three Singaporeans will ‘do something to help’ someone who shares personal suicidal thoughts. Less than 1 in 10 think the effectiveness of support in Singapore for someone facing a crisis and thinking or affected by suicide is high. A study by Singapore Management University (SMU) revealed these perceptions of suicide in a city known for its cosmopolitan vibrancy, high quality of life and educated workforce.
With the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) as a supporting partner, Rosie Ching, SMU’s Senior Lecturer in Statistics, created and produced the nationwide study, “Save.Me”. with its 62 students in January and February this year, interviewing 2,960 people across Singapore, on the subject of suicide. Ms. Ching and her students conducted the surveys through face-to-face interviews, phone calls and Zoom. The survey results are available at www.screeningstatistics.com/saveme.
Save me. delved into levels of awareness of the signs of suicide, beliefs held about suicide, their preferred platforms for seeking help, the level of support available to those in crisis, and the effectiveness of these support channels. It closely adhered to Singapore’s demographics with regards to gender, race, age and found that more than 8 in 10 (83%) people in Singapore believe in the existence of the stigma associated with suicide. Those with no connection to suicide have a significantly more negative attitude towards suicide than those whose immediate family has attempted or committed suicide and those who have friends who have done the same.
Overall, more than 3 in 4 Singaporeans (77%) rate their level of knowledge about suicide as below average. People with more intimate ties to suicide (from immediate family to parents to friends) cite “No awareness or education” as the main reason for their low level of knowledge. Of all those who would avoid someone who is suicidal or in crisis, more than 70% say it is their fear of making the affected person worse, their inability to do anything and their lack of knowledge.
The most notable myth that Singaporeans believe is that talking about suicide can give someone the idea. People with immediate family ties to the suicide make up the highest proportion of those who believe this, at 70%.
Less than 1 in 10 people have a positive view of the effectiveness of support in Singapore for someone facing crisis and thinking or affected by suicide, with the overall effectiveness of such support in Singapore rated significantly lower than the averaged by all respondent profiles.
Mr. Gasper Tan, Chief Executive of Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), commented: “The survey results confirm what many of our mental health experts are saying: there is an unprecedented mental health crisis in our country. , accentuated by the pandemic. Over the past two years, SOS has seen an 89% increase in the number of at-risk people seeking help. As a community, we must continue to galvanize our resources to strengthen and transform our healthcare ecosystem to address mental health and suicide in a holistic and accessible way.
According to Professor Lieven Demeester, Vice Rector (Innovation in Teaching and Learning) at SMU, “It is great that SMU’s collaboration with SOS has produced such valuable insights that can be usefully applied to more prevention. effective suicide”.
The older a person is, the more they believe in the unpredictability of suicides. Yet overall, more than 9 in 10 people (92%) think suicide can be prevented. The younger a person is, the higher the percentage of those who think suicide can be prevented: from Gen Z (93.3%) to Gen Y (93%) to Gen X (90%) to babies -boomers (84%). The higher the number of years of education, the higher the percentage of those who believe that suicide can be predicted and also prevented, with the highest percentage being 96% of those with higher education.
Ms. Ching said, “The memory of three special people lost by suicide drew me to this area of suicide. As I learned from SOS, each of them just wanted the pain, not their life, to end, but they saw no way out. It is to each of their memories that I dedicate every tear shed in Save.Me. I know those I have lost would like anyone in crisis to be pulled from the brink, their pain treated, everyone to know where and how to seek help and support. So the healing can begin.
- More than 8 in 10 people (82.87%) believe there is stigma associated with suicide in Singapore. All profiles show strong majorities who believe in the stigma of suicide in Singapore.
- Only one in three Singaporeans ‘will do something to help’ someone who shares personal suicidal thoughts. ‘Provide ongoing presence and support’ is the most immediate and effective action, followed by a somewhat distant second: ‘Encourage professional support, for example from mental health counsellors’. Together, they form nearly 3 in 4 of Singaporeans’ responses to someone in crisis. Only about a third (33%) would encourage professional support.
- For two out of three people who would not support and save a person in crisis or suicidal, more than 70% say it is their fear of making the suicidal person worsetheir inability to do anything and their lack of knowledge.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 people unrelated to suicide believe that suicide can be predicted. The older an individual is, the more he does not believe that suicide can be predicted. The longer the years of education, the greater the belief that suicide can also be predicted, from around 3 in 10 for those with no education, rising to over 7 in 10 for those with at least a Bachelor’s degree.
- Over 9 in 10 (92%) believe suicide can be prevented. The younger a person is, the higher the percentage of those who think suicide can be prevented: from Gen Z (93.3%) to Gen Y (93%) to Gen X (90%) to babies -boomers (84%). The higher the number of years of schooling, the higher the percentage of those who think suicide can be prevented, with the highest percentage being nearly 10 in 10 (96%) among those who have graduate studies.
- Preferred Sharing Platforms: Overall, 6 out of 10 people choose “Physical, F2F” as the most comfortable platform to talk to someone about their issues. Second place in text messaging goes to Gen Z and Millennials, but not Gen X and Baby Boomers, who prefer the phone or a hotline. Statistically, text messaging for Gen Z and Millennials is what a phone or a hotline is for baby boomers.
- In all age groups, “a friend” is the person they are most likely to turn to for problems. Across all age groups, only 6.35% choose a trained advisor, with Gen X being the most open at 9.47%.
- 67.43% would be more willing to talk to someone about their problems if their identity was anonymous, a common thread between genders, ages, races, religions, professions, degrees.
- Effectiveness of support: Less than 1 in 10 people believe that the effectiveness of support in Singapore for someone facing a crisis and thinking or affected by suicide is high. In fact, 74% of respondents overall believe that the effectiveness of such support in Singapore is significantly below average. This low rating extends to all suicide-related profiles.
General information about Save.Me
In January 2022, SMU students in a unique statistics module called STATISTICS-X created by Rosie Ching, Senior Lecturer in Statistics at SMU, collaborated with Samaritans in Singapore to conduct Save.Me., an original national study.
With the support of SOS, Ms. Ching spent a total of 13 months developing this project from the outset at the request of SOS CEO Mr. Gasper Tan in December 2020.
At the launch and halfway through the project, Ms. Ching invited the Samaritans of Singapore to SMU, who warmly and enthusiastically supported and guided her and her students on managing people in distress, and discovered meaningful work and outreach efforts. of SOS through the many years in Singapore.
Ms. Ching and her students collectively invested more than 3.5 months of intense work in study, investigation and analysis, collecting data from more than 2,960 interviews in 5 weeks.