According to, a news source in Singapore, two students from a prominent junior college took their lives during August of 2016. The tragic suicides occurred within a 10-day span. Apparently, the pressures of maintaining A-level status, along with other stress factors, brought these young people to a place of such despair that they could see no way out except death.

A Rising Trend

These suicides are one symptom of a frightening trend, noted by several mental health care professionals in Singapore. One psychiatrist in Singapore says, “It is actually quite common that these students get suicidal thoughts.” About five years ago, he would see five such patients annually. Now, the number has doubled, and he currently consults with 10 patients in this situation. A psychologist in Singapore corroborates the psychiatrist’s characterisation of the trend. He had 10 depressed, suicidal students last year. This year, the number jumped to 20.

A Real-Life Story

One of the psychiatrist’s patients nearly committed suicide, but a school counsellor noted the warning signs and begged him to get professional help. The second-year student listened and began visiting the psychiatrist.

He claimed that his depression in Singapore began after he got into a good junior college. Although the student had done very well in secondary school, his grades dipped lower in college. He felt ashamed by his perceived failure. At the same time, he suffered from a lack of family support, which only compounded the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.

The student managed to get through the first year of JC, but when the second year started, he felt even worse. Thanks to the counsellor’s intervention and the doctor’s treatment plan, the student’s outlook has improved, and his life was saved.

Increasing Stress and Academic Pressure

Although many students notice a peak in their stress levels around exam time, the students who feel suicidal have been suffering from acute mental distress for a while. The exams add to the pressure, but the underlying issue is ongoing. By the time these depressed students sit for their O-level to A-level exams or the PSLE, they have reached the breaking point.

Parental Support and Psychiatric Help

It’s important for parents to let their students know that they love and appreciate them, whether or not they achieve high levels in junior college. Parents also need to watch for warning signs, like dramatic changes in a student’s behaviour. Maybe you have noticed your student growing more solitary, pulling back into his or her own world. Perhaps the student is no longer interested in activities that were once favourite pastimes.

Is the student moody, anxious, frightened, or emotional for the majority of the time? Loss of appetite, insomnia, a steep decline in school results, avoiding all schoolwork, extreme consumption of energy drinks or coffee, or frequent negativity about life can all be warning signs of depression and borderline suicidal behaviour.

Approach your student in a loving, caring manner and encourage him or her to seek help from the experts at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. Our caring team will help your student get back on the path to mental health and wellness, with psychiatric and psychological treatment, an improved diet, light exercise, and the development of a more balanced approach to life.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: The New Paper, September 4, 2016