An article on why the community is key to suicide prevention.
By N. Fields, April 2021
Support. Understanding. Hope. These are some words that those contemplating suicide hope to find.
Current suicide landscape
According to data provided by the Samaritans of Singapore, there were 400 suicides in 2019. Although the number of suicide cases remain the highest amongst those in their 20s , anyone is susceptible to suicidal ideations stemming from various risk factors. As a result, many with suicidal intent feel detached and alone, experiencing an emotional disconnection from people and the world around them. Some may desire the feeling of being needed, while others need to be reminded of their sense of purpose and their value. Some may wish to be proven wrong in their negative spiral of thoughts.
A person may appear fine outwardly; but in reality, he or she may be suffering, battling thoughts of ending their lives. All they need might be as simple as having someone there, to listen, to support or reassure them that they are not alone, and that all hope is not lost.
It may be hard for the common man to understand a suicidal person’s thoughts and mental state, or even their triggers. It can be difficult to appreciate their struggles and pains, culminating with the frustration of not being able to provide a solution. However, it is still important that the community comes in, to play a part. To have a person who is willing to be present, to come alongside someone who wants to end their lives, that act itself could help the person to turn back and be encouraged to seek help and find the courage to do so. Ultimately, it might just save another life that would otherwise be lost.
The idea of the community also suggests inclusivity, where adequate support, care and understanding are given to those who struggle with mental health issues and suicidal ideations in schools, workplaces, religious organisations. Perhaps, we are not far from a reality where mental health resources and programmes, and suicide prevention training are widely available, helping to prevent as many suicides as possible and to protect the sanctity of lives. People who struggle with mental health issues and thoughts of ending their lives should not be seen nor treated as an anomaly. Instead, community support is useful where the right resources and help can be matched with the sufferer, upon identification of possible signs of contemplation or even attempts of suicide.
All this takes a collective effort, the commitment of multiple stakeholders and institutions, and the shared understanding that suicide prevention will be possible when the community works together. We can save our loved ones and people who mean much to us, before it is too late.
About the writer
Fields strongly believes that support of the community is paramount to the efforts taken in suicide prevention. She has had close friends struggle with suicidal ideations and realised that people have the power to influence or change one’s decision to take their own life. N. Fields is committed this cause of suicide prevention and continues to author articles regarding this topic, hoping to destigmatize suicide, saving more lives.