A psychiatrist in Singapore claims that suicide attempts are usually the result of many different stress factors, not just one. Dr. Ong Say How’s conclusions were reported by Channel News Asia after he spoke on an episode of “On the Red Dot.” Dr. Ong was commenting on the recent string of teenage suicides in Singapore.

During the past year, 27 kids between the ages of 10 and 19 have killed themselves. It’s the highest number of adolescent suicides that Singapore has seen for 15 years. The statistic has shocked parents and made them more aware of the struggles that their children are facing.

Many have attributed the dangerous trend of increasing parental pressure on children. Singapore parents value success very highly and want their children to do well in school so that they can receive the best higher education, obtain an excellent job, and be financially successful. It’s a worthy goal; but if parents take it too far, they can inadvertently place extreme pressure on their child. Suffocating under their parents’ demands for educational excellence, children and teens can become hopeless and depressed.

Educational pressure certainly has a role to play, but as Dr. Ong Say How reminded listeners during his TV spot, it isn’t the only reason behind these suicides. He said that exam stress is actually a secondary contributing factor in most cases. The primary factors are personal relationships and family relationships.

When something goes wrong with those connections, the breach makes a young person much more vulnerable to depression and thoughts of self-harm or even suicide.

Nicole K, a suicide survivor, was featured on the same TV episode as Dr. Ong. She said that her emotional turmoil over her parents’ troubled marriage and divorce caused her to become severely guilt-ridden and depressed. She felt powerless and wondered if she had been at fault. She began harming herself. Several times, she nearly killed herself. At last, she was able to find help through a psychiatrist in Singapore and through the support and love of her husband. She now oversees The Tapestry Project, which aids individuals with poor mental health in Singapore.

If someone you know is struggling with several different stress factors, be aware that they may be at risk. They may be hiding the depth of their trouble and despair from you, so avoid saying trite phrase like, “You’ll get over it,” or “Cheer up!” Those statements, though well-meaning, seem to trivialise what the person is feeling. Instead, let the person know that it hurts you to see him in pain, and that you want to help. Tell your friend or family member that you are there to listen, to help, or to cry with her. Encourage your loved one to seek help if the dark, depressive feelings have been going on for a long time.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 6 November, 2016

At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, we offer counselling, therapy, and various types of treatments to help teenagers, children, and adults learn how to handle their negative emotions. With care and treatment, our patients can go on to overcome their depression and their suicidal thoughts and find new hope for life.