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  • Writer's pictureThe Original Folks

Ep 28: Call SOS at 1767 if you're feeling suicidal

Hosts: Jade and Deniece


In this episode, Jade and Deniece discuss Suicide Prevention, also highlighting the common causes of suicide, with emphasis on the importance of having support structures like friends or family in the lives of people harboring such intentions.



Episode Timeline:

[02:56] Trigger Warning; Today's episode is on Suicide Prevention, and listeners are encouraged to discontinue the episode if they are uncomfortable or continue in the company of someone they feel comfortable listening with. Jade shares that the 10th of September is World Suicide Prevention Day. Deniece explains that this is also one of the mental health episodes, and encourages listeners to continue to share their thoughts and feelings on their struggles which they would like to have discussed on the podcast.

[05:35] Statistics on Suicide: A total of 452 suicides were reported in Singapore in 2020. This was also reported by the Nonprofit Suicide Prevention center, S.O.S, to be a 13% increase from 2019, and was observed across all age groups. Suicides within the age group above 60, rose to 154, which is the highest since 1991 and is a 26% increase since 2019.

[10:27] Causes of Suicide: Jade explains that economic pressure following the pandemic is one of the possible reasons for the rise in the suicide rate, while within the younger generation there are more relationship-related reasons, bullying, and mental health issues. Jade explains that the financial reason might apply to older people because it is generally hard for them to find work because of their age. This would be the benefit of having enough children to take of the elderly, as they also serve as a support system for the elderly in their old age. As for youths, they may also experience this financial pressure from the loss of a job mid-career.

[15:33] How many times can you pick yourself back up in life? Life is difficult and it is important to have a support structure like friends and family to sometimes remind you to get back up. Usually, people with suicidal thoughts will share them with 1 out of 4 friends, and if they are shut down, they will not share anymore, which makes it difficult for them to seek and get help. It is important to listen to these groups of people, empathize with them but not endorse their suicidal plan. The suicidal thoughts do not come at the point where the action is taken, it usually grows gradually following a traumatic event, and is best nipped in the bud by helping them early.

[19:38] Deniece explains that everyone has had a suicidal thought at one point or the other, but we make the conscious decision to control our minds. It is important to take control of what goes into your mind. She encourages listeners who notice they have more negative thoughts to listen to the last episode with Nelson Tan.

[20:35] Jade advises listeners to talk to someone, and not feel like something is wrong with them due to their thoughts because it is okay to feel sad after a traumatic event.

[22:20] Was there a point in your life where you had suicidal thoughts? For Jade, she had a similar experience when she went through a tough break-up, asking herself "what is the point of living?" However, relying on her support system which was a friend she could talk to, she started to cope. She also focused on her studies which was a healthy distraction at the time. Relationships can be very toxic and heartbreak is common because people make promises they can't keep; avoid making such promises, and such toxic relationships.

[28:10] For Deniece, this experience came not long after she gave birth. She had taken up so much responsibility, trying to do everything by herself and at some point, her world felt like it was crumbling. Even while chatting with other mothers, her husband, her parents, and reaching out online, she did not feel better. She however recalls feeling better just knowing there were people for her to talk to. "A lot of times when we're stuck in our situations, we feel that there is no way out but there is" Deniece emphasizes the importance of reaching out to talk to someone.

[31:52] The 4 Fs that prevent suicide in youths: The first is Family and Friends; the strong bonds and relationships they have with family and friends can often prevent youths from committing suicide. Secondly, the Future, and curiosity about what will happen later in life can shift their focus, keeping them distracted from suicidal thoughts. The next is Faith, which applies to those who are religious and can draw support and strength from their faith and other people who share their beliefs. The last is Fear, which is the fear of pain that they will feel while trying to take their lives. Deniece points out the importance of creating plans for the next step even if it is in the small things; taking it one small step at a time.

[35:45] An analogy from an SOS (Samaritans of Singapore) training: The emotional pain we feel is like a bottle, events that cause pain are like water that flows in. Imagine having holes at the bottom of the bottle where water flows out from; these are the support structures and mechanisms which help you cope, in other words, diffuse the pain so your bottle doesn't get overfull. However, the size of each person's bottle varies from another person, and some people have fewer or smaller holes, and this determines if the bottle will overflow or not. The idea is to not let your bottle overflow.

[37:54] Advice to Parents: Teenagers struggle with a lot of things, and as much as you barely have time for yourselves, take out time this period of World Suicide Prevention to connect with your children and find out about their issues. Just knowing that the parents care about their mental wellbeing helps teenagers feel much better. Make each conversation count, and be kinder.

[40:06] To reach out for help, listeners with suicidal tendencies can call the Singapore hotline at 1767. Our hosts play a recording of a call they made to the hotline. Listeners can also reach our hosts on Instagram to talk more about mental health.

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