Suicide cases in Singapore are soaring amid the pandemic. Singapore reported 452 suicides last year, the highest number in the country since 2012, amid isolation and psychological stress from the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to data released by Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), the number of suicide cases last year increased by 13% from the 400 cases recorded in 2019.
The increase was observed across all age groups, particularly the elderly, who recorded the highest number of suicides since 1991.
According to CNA, among people aged 60 years and over, 154 people committed suicide, an increase of 26% from 2019.
In other age groups, including those aged 10-29 and 30-59, the number of suicides increased by 7% compared to 2019.
Overall, the number of suicides rose to 8.88 per 100,000 population, up 0.88% compared to 2019.
“Covid-19 has greatly affected the nation’s economy, lifestyle and mental health. We are very concerned about how the elderly will cope with this public health crisis,” said SOS Chief Executive Gasper Tan.
Tan said that during the pandemic, older people are more likely to face social isolation and financial worries.
This group may also face difficulties with constantly adapting to change and prolonged feelings of loneliness. “Which might be devastating,” said Tan.
Despite the higher number of suicides among the elderly, SOS saw a decrease in the number of calls received from this age group via its 24-hour suicide prevention hotline.
In 2019 there were 4,816 calls, while there were 4,455 calls to the hotline from the elderly in 2020.
Out of those willing to disclose their age, 17% of all calls were made by the 60 and over age group 60 in 2020, compared to 20% the previous year.
SOS said callers faced difficulties coping with loneliness and inactivity due to isolation, psychological stress, and impaired social and family relationships.
Some elderly people live alone and lack support to cope with the pandemic.