Overall suicide rate decreased in 2021 but increased among youths aged 10-29: Samaritans of S'pore

The rising rate of suicides among young people is a cause for concern: SOS.

Matthias Ang | July 01, 2022, 12:55 PM

There was a total of 378 reported suicides in 2021, marking a decrease of 16.3 per cent from 2020, according to a Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) press release.

Suicide has increased among youths

However, suicide remains the cause for the highest number of deaths among youths aged 10 to 29 for the past three years.

Within the age group of youths aged 10-29, the rate of suicides increased from 22.3 per cent in 2020 to 29.6 per cent in 2021, among all suicides recorded in the country.

As for youths aged 10-19, the SOS said that suicides for this group went from 30 deaths in 2020 to 37 in 2021.

Rising rate of suicides among young people a cause for concern

The chief executive of SOS, Gasper Tan, said:

"Comparing 2020 to 2021, our crisis hotline has seen a 127 per cent increase in calls from youths aged 10 to 19, expressing a strong cry for help that cannot be ignored. This increased demand can also be seen in our text-messaging service which reflects the readiness of our youths in help-seeking."

He was echoed by the Institute of Mental Health's Senior Consultant and Chief of the Department of Emergency and Crisis Care, Jared Ng, who added:

"The rising number of young people taking their own lives remains a big concern. Young patients we encountered have been reporting various stressors in their lives, such as interpersonal issues with their family and friends, academic stress, achievement stress and future job stress.

Preventing youth suicides thus needs coordination and close collaboration between several relevant sectors of society, including education, social services and health. Certainly, support and guidance from family members and friends remain integral in helping young people navigate through the issues and crises they face in their lives."

Acknowledging the "alarming rates of suicide" among youths, SOS added that it had introduced various youth crisis programmes to provide young people with the support they need.

Suicide has decreased among the elderly

As for the elderly, the SOS noted that suicide mortality among the elderly aged 60 and above decreased from 154 in 2020 to 112 in 2021.

Recognising the pandemic's impact on mental health, the SOS added that efforts by ministries, mental health sectors and the community have accelerated to advance mental well-being and suicide prevention priorities.


If you or someone you know are in mental distress, here are some hotlines you can call to seek help, advice, or just a listening ear:

SOS 24-hour Hotline: 1-767

Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222 (24 hours)

Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (for primary school-aged children)

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