Monday, May 9, 2016

Raymond's letter to The New Paper: ADDRESSING SUICIDES - Train seniors to help suicidal, depressed neighbours

My letter to the press on the above matter is published today – Monday 9th May 2016

Sometimes, people who are depressed feel that they are unable to cope with life’s challenges, but do not seek help.

Instead, they end up trying to harm themselves as they mistakenly believe that ending their life is the only way out of their problems.

This seems to have been what happened to a 42-year-old man who threatened to jump down from a ninth storey flat in Serangoon North (“Man locks himself in flat, threatens to jump”; The New Paper, April 28).

When depressed people attempt suicide to end their lives, resources get stretched. Besides The Singapore Civil Defence Force and the police having to move in swiftly, the hospital where the suspect gets warded and the courts will also see an increased workload.

A Peer Specialist scheme to help persons trying to cope with depression and other forms of mental illnesses is now in place at the Institute of Mental Health, the Singapore Association for Mental Health and Club Heal. 

I propose that such a Peer Specialist scheme be introduced in housing estates, to help bring down the number of suicides and suicide attempts.

These Peer Specialists can also act as mediation officers to handle disputes among neighbours and, with proper training, can make the neighbourhood more pleasant.

This task will be ideal for seniors who have healthy experiences in mental health and relationship issues and with more time on their hands.    


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