Suicide in Singapore

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Suicide in Singapore is considered a serious issue in the country.[1] The issues have been rising in recent years, with the rate of suicide increasing for all demographics.[2][3][4][5] It is the leading cause of death for those aged between 10 and 29 years old.[1][6] Males account for the most suicides at over 66.6% of all suicides.[1][6]

Like most issues of mental illness and death, suicide is generally viewed as a taboo subject in Singapore.[7][8]This may hinder efforts to reduce suicide rates. Some argue that changing public opinion on clinical depression and similar mental disorders may be a huge step in improving the rate of suicides.[9]

Singapore ranked 105th by age-standardised suicide rate according to the World Health Organization in 2016.[10] Generally, the rate of suicide is rising, in 2016 it was 8.54, up from 8.43 in 2015.[11]


Suicide is illegal in Singapore.[12] Section 309 of the Penal Code states that "Whoever attempts to commit suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both."[13] The section is rarely enforced, between 2013 and 2015, only 0.6% of reported cases was brought to court.[12][14]

It is also illegal to abet or assist another person in suicide.[12] Section 306 of the Penal Code states that "If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine."[15] Section 305, also relates to the abetting of suicide, however it is specifically if the suicide victim is less than 18 years old, intoxicated or mentally ill. It states that "If any person under 18 years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication, commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine."[16]

On 9 September 2018, the Penal Code review committee called for the law on attempted suicide to be repealed.[17][14]

Preventative measures[edit]

There are numerous preventative policies with the intention of reducing suicide. The Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) is a non denominational, non-profit suicide prevention centre. SOS is a member of the National Council of Social Service and is also affiliated to the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), International Association for Suicide Prevention, Befrienders Worldwide, and International Federation of Telephonic Emergency Services (IFOTES). The organisation provides multiple services such as a 24-hour suicide hotline, professional counselling and crisis support.

Another measure, as mentioned above was outlawing suicide and its abetment.

Notable cases[edit]

A notable case is the slayers suicide pact also known as the Sheng Long Fu suicides or Singapore teen suicide pact. The suicide pact, which took place on 23 August 2008, had 9 teenagers agreeing to it.[18] On the day of the suicide, one backed out,[18] two committed suicide and the rest backing down after seeing the first suicides.[19][20][21] This case shook the island and many were appalled by the incident.[22] Peer pressure and a lack of maturity were blamed for the incident.[19]

This case revealed brought media attention to teenage suicides in Singapore and how peer pressure can be used to manipulate the young.[21][20]


Critics blame Singapore for having high stress levels which lead to a higher amount of suicide.[23] There is also much criticism towards the way Singapore deals with suicide victims and survivors. For example, critics point out the fact that suicide survivors should receive treatment instead of getting punished.[14][24] They also argue that someone in the state of mind where they consider suicide as an option, likely would not think of legal repercussion as a strong deterrent.[14][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Gonzalez, Miren. "Singapore's troubling suicide problem – early detection of signs and professional help is best prevention". The Independent. The Independent. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. ^ Mahmud, Aqil Haziq. "Number of elderly suicides at all-time high: SOS". Channel News Asia. Channel News Asia. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  3. ^ Rashith, Rahimah. "Number of suicides among seniors hits record high". The Straits Times. The Straits Times. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  4. ^ Cheow, Sue-Ann. "Numbers up and ages down for child suicides: experts explain". tnp. The New Papaer. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  5. ^ "129 elderly suicides in 2017, record high for Singapore: SOS". Yahoo News. Yahoo. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b Chia, Rachel Genevieve. "Suicide is the main cause of death for millennials in Singapore – and most of them are men". Business Insider Singapore. Business Singapore. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  7. ^ "More arrested for attempting suicide". AsiaOne. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  8. ^ "How Can I Help Someone Who Is Suicidal?". CLEO Singapore. 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  9. ^ Ahmedani, Brian K. (2011). "Mental Health Stigma: Society, Individuals, and the Profession". Journal of social work values and ethics. 8 (2): 4–1–4-16. ISSN 1553-6947. PMC 3248273. PMID 22211117.
  10. ^ "GHO | By category | Suicide rate estimates, age-standardized - Estimates by country". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  11. ^ hermes (2017-07-28). "Slight rise in number of suicides last year". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  12. ^ a b c "Is it illegal to commit suicide in Singapore? Will I be punished if my attempt at suicide fails? |". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  13. ^ "Penal Code - Singapore Statutes Online". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  14. ^ a b c d hermesauto (2018-09-09). "Penal Code review committee: Punishment not the answer for people attempting suicide". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  15. ^ "Penal Code - Singapore Statutes Online". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  16. ^ "Penal Code - Singapore Statutes Online". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  17. ^ "Penal Code review committee calls for law on attempted suicide to be scrapped off". TODAYonline. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  18. ^ a b "'I thought of my mother': Moving on from the teenage suicide pact that shook Singapore". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  19. ^ a b "Coroner: No one was forced to jump". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  20. ^ a b "Teen leader's reason for group suicide pact". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  21. ^ a b "'We were all laughing at him'". Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  22. ^ "20 headlines that rocked Singapore in the last 20 years". 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  23. ^ "Singapore's price for education success: streaming, stress and suicides". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  24. ^ a b Lim, Corianna (20 February 2013). "Suicide laws deter treatment, not attempts". aware. Retrieved 22 November 2018.