Suicidal Ideation

[TRIGGER WARNING: The page below mentions suicide and suicidal ideations. Viewer discretion is advised.]

According to Samaritans of Singapore, suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10-29. In 2019 alone, about 400 lives were lost to suicide. This concerning number highlights the gravity of suicide prevalence in Singapore.


Warning Signs to Indicate Potential Suicidal Ideation

✽ Pay attention to the things they say

  • Talking about wanting to die (E.g. “People around me are better off without me”)
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or trapped (E.g. “My life is worthless”)

✽ Notice any change in behaviour

  • Giving away their valuable belongings
  • Saying goodbye
  • Researching suicide methods
  • Writing suicide notes
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing and isolating self

✽ Change in mood

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Increased irritability, and recklessness
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Feelings of humiliation and anxiety


Risk Factors 

  • Recent loss of a relationship/ person
  • Recent work/school failure
  • Exposure to suicide clusters/others who committed suicide
  • Mental disorders (especially mood disorders)
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Physical or chronic illness


How to React

✽ Provide a listening ear

Oftentimes, individuals with suicide ideation do not actually want to end their lives, they only want to end the pain. You may not be able to come up with solutions to solve their problems, but listening empathetically could help them work through any negative emotions.
Ask open-ended questions to invoke thinking but avoid using “why” as it could sound accusatory. For instance:

  • “What happened that made you feel this way?”
  • “What could happen if you decided not to do this?”

Check in with them regularly to remind them that you are here for them.

✽ Do not be afraid to approach the topic

Talking about these actions is unlikely to trigger them. For example,

  • “Others in similar circumstances have thought about ending their lives, do you have similar thoughts?”

✽ Avoid telling them “I know how you feel”

We don’t know how they feel but we can listen to understand the pain they are going through.

✽ Encourage them to seek professional help

Talking to a therapist or counsellor can help to clarify their thinking and through that find their purpose and meaning in life.


What You can Do if You are Feeling Suicidal 

✽ Do call 1-767, the 24 hour Samaritans of Singapore hotline if you need someone to talk to. Alternatively, you could access their CareText platform if you prefer to communicate via text, or email them at [email protected].

✽ Find company, do not be alone

Talk to your family or friends, and/or find a different environment to be in.

✽ Note down your accomplishments and future aspirations

Instead of focusing on the failures, try to shift your mindset and congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come.