A third of Singaporeans have experienced suicidal thoughts

Kim HoPR Manager
June 25, 2019, 2:53 AM GMT+0

One in ten young adults frequently engage in self-harm

Latest YouGov research finds that a third (34%) of Singaporeans have experienced suicidal thoughts.

While over a quarter (27%) have suicidal thoughts ‘rarely’, 7% of Singaporeans have them frequently. Women tend to experience this more than men (36% vs. 31%) and lower income earners (earning less than SGD 4,000 a month) have higher instances of suicidal thoughts than high earners (earning more than SGD 8,000 a month) (37% vs. 31%).

Almost a quarter (23%) of Singaporeans have engaged in self-harm. This is particularly prevalent for younger Singaporeans (aged 18 to 24), with over a third (36%) having self-harmed. Among younger Singaporeans, data shows that one in ten (10%) self-harm frequently.

One in ten (11%) have experienced some form of mental health issue in their lifetime. Younger Singaporeans (aged 18 to 24) are three times more likely to state they have had mental health issues than older Singaporeans (those aged 55 and above) (20% vs. 7%).

The most commonly experienced mental health issue are depression (72%) and anxiety (52%). However, only three in five (58%) of those with mental health issues go on to seek professional help for it. Women are more likely to seek help than men (62% vs. 52%) and those without university degrees are more likely to seek help than those with university degrees or higher (61% vs. 55%).

The main barrier to getting professional help is concerns about cost (47%). Other reasons include concerns about time commitment (35%), being unsure of where to get help (32%) and embarrassment or social stigma (25%).

Almost two thirds (64%) of Singaporeans would be embarrassed to admit if they had mental health issues. Over a third (36%) would be open to admitting to mental health issues, with men more willing to speak about it than women (38% vs. 33%).

Overall, Singaporeans tend to treat mental health seriously. A large majority (94%) believe that mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health. Nine in ten (90%) agree that mental health should be covered by insurance, and an almost equal number (92%) think that employees ought to be entitled to medical leave for mental health issues.

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “Many people with mental health issues suffer in silence, as seen by the significant amount of people who choose not to seek help. An alarming number of Singaporeans experience damaging behaviour like suicidal thoughts and self-harm, particularly prevalent among young adults. We hope this survey sheds light on the topic of mental health, and how it affects people differently.”

***Results based on 1,095 Singaporeans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus