I was reading the papers when I stumbled upon this article. Curious, I searched and found out that in Singapore, for 2006, there’s about 1 suicide a day, which amounts to about 360 suicides a year – about 1% that of Japan’s. In Singapore itself, this accounts for 2.4% of the total number of deaths in 2006.

As Singapore’s economy grows and as competition for jobs get fiercer, I sometimes wonder how much stress can Singaporeans take. However, from what I know so far, most people take a resign-and-search-for-another-job approach, rather than slogging too hard for a particular job. There is, though, one such person that I knew who died from being overworked. I think she was from HP… not too sure on that. Can someone verify this?

Quoting from a report (Renowned global suicide prevention experts gather for Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore, Press Release, Institute of Mental Health, March 2006) that I found,

Studies show that males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females, although women are more likely to attempt suicide than men. In Singapore, there are slightly more adolescent females between the ages of 15 to 19 years who die from suicide. Suicide is among the top three causes of death among young people aged 15 to 35 years. In the past, suicide among the elderly accounted for more than 50% of total suicides. With improvement in healthcare and with the development of community services for older Singaporeans, this rate has come down.

it seems that the elderly (accounting for more than 50% of the total suicides in Singapore) is more prone to suicide possibly health-related, as further described in the report:

Studies have shown that teens commit suicide due to relationship or family problems, or study stress. Adult suicides are mainly related to financial and marital problems while suicides in the elderly are more related to health problems and the perception of being a burden to the family.

As Singapore is looming towards an ageing population, and with statistics showing that more than 50% of the total suicides coming from this population group, it really worries me if suicide rates in Singapore will increase. However, some people have also mentioned to me that it’s more expensive to be alive and be sick than to die – and for the terminally ill, it can really clear the family of their savings.

I am trying to link this information to CPF savings, annuity and insurance. So, if you are old and sick and your insurance coverage stops, what happens? Hmm…

TOKYO – THE number of suicides in Japan topped 30,000 for the ninth straight year in 2006, the government said on Friday, urging employers to do more to tackle depression at work.

Japan’s suicide rate has shot up since the mid-1990s to become one of the highest outside the former Soviet Union as the Japanese ideal of lifetime job security crumbled away amid years of economic recession.

With more jobs now available because of a recent economic recovery, the number of suicides dropped 1.2 per cent last year, although it is still above the 30,000 mark – 32,155, according to a government white paper that quoted police estimates.

Among the Japanese who took their lives, men between 55 and 64 made up more than half, according to the white paper, the first since a suicide prevention law was passed by the government last year amid concerns about the high numbers.

About 48 per cent of the total were unemployed, with health concerns, financial difficulties and family problems seen as the main motives.

The health ministry reported in June that 29,887 Japanese killed themselves last year, a fall of 2.2 per cent from 2005.

Japan in recent years has seen a spate of heavily publicised incidents in which strangers who meet on the Internet make suicide pacts and die together from carbon monoxide poisoning in cars.

The suicide rate was brought sharply into focus in May when the country’s farm minister hanged himself.

The government white paper called on employers to increase mental health support and counselling.

In April the government set a goal of driving down the suicide rate by 20 per cent in the next decade by ensuring people have access to psychological care and are not pressured into working Japan’s notoriously marathon overtime hours.

Other planned measures include better consultation services for the unemployed, a clampdown on Internet sites that encourage suicide and barriers at train stations to prevent people throwing themselves onto the tracks. — AFP

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 9th November 2007

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