SINGAPORE - Growing numbers of troubled teenagers are being referred to suicide prevention agency Samaritans of Singapore (SOS).
More than 200 concerned parents or friends have phoned its hotline or written in to seek help on their behalf in the past year, twice as many as in the 12 months before that. Most calls and e-mails come from worried parents who notice their children have been keeping to themselves, staying in their rooms or showing other signs of withdrawal.
The SOS said it was encouraging to see more people picking up signs of distress in those around them. At the same time, it is concerned many young people are finding it difficult to communicate their anguish to others and seek help early.
"They are at a stage of life where they are especially afraid to show their emotions for fear of being ridiculed, dismissed or judged," said its executive director Christine Wong. "Others choose to hide their pain because they don't want their loved ones to be overly worried or to be a burden to them."
She added that it is important to deal with emotional pain before it escalates as feelings of hopelessness and despair can become so overwhelming that they lead sufferers to try to kill themselves.
Singapore's suicide rate hit a 20-year high last year, with the most significant increase coming from those aged 20 to 29. Eighty-three from this group took their lives last year, up from 46 in 2011.
Others try to cope with the pain in harmful ways, such as cutting themselves or turning to alcohol and drugs. Said Ms Wong: "Their silent cries for help are sometimes hidden behind a facade."..........
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