Fewer number of deaths by suicide this year
There were 166 deaths by suicide from January to September this year, down from 304 during the same period last year, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan told Parliament yesterday.
He gave these preliminary figures in response to Mr Murali Pillai's (Bukit Batok) question on how many suicides had been recorded and how many attempts at suicide the Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force had intervened in since it was decriminalised.
Mr Murali also asked how the decriminalisation of attempted suicide had improved the situation for those tempted to take their lives.
Attempted suicide was decriminalised by the Criminal Law Reform Act last year, with the amendments coming into effect at the start of this year.
Yesterday, Mr Tan said the police were called to help with about 1,800 cases of attempted suicide or thoughts of suicide from January to September this year.
From 2017 to last year, the police received about 1,200 reports of attempted suicide a year.
However, Mr Tan pointed out that the two figures could not be compared, as the 1,800 cases so far this year included people who had suicidal thoughts but did not actually act on them.
He said: "The criminal justice system is not the best way to deal with persons who have attempted suicide. Such persons are often under severe distress."
Mr Tan added that the decriminalisation of attempted suicide reduces stigma and encourages suicidal people to seek help early.
"The reasons for suicide are multifaceted and complex. Hence, the Government has been continuing our efforts to prevent suicides, and we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our approaches to better assist suicidal persons," he said.