Media and Publications / The Press Room
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SOS ENCOURAGES HONEST CONVERSATIONS ACROSS ALL GENERATIONS WITH “THE HONEST COOKIE”

September 2021

In commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September 2021, Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) will kickstart an outreach campaign, comprising a series of social media content as well as on-ground engagements that will run throughout September.

Titled “The Honest Cookie – Break a Cookie, Break the Silence”, the campaign aims to reach and engage the wider community from all walks of life to encourage everyone to start having intergenerational and honest conversations with family and friends to break the silence around mental health.

In 2020, Singapore reported 452 suicide deaths, with the increase in number observed across all age groups. Due to the pandemic, stressors such as the change in lifestyle routines, social withdrawal, and financial worries have created a sense of hopelessness – leading to greater mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Yet, people find it difficult to have honest conversations with each other and be open about their true feelings during a crisis. Many are keeping their worries and emotions silent and to themselves, exacerbating the issues and stopping them from getting the help they need. Through the Honest Cookie, SOS hopes to reach out to the more vulnerable groups such as the elderly and youths, to help them re-connect with their loved ones and those who can support them in times of need.

Gasper Tan, chief executive of SOS commented, “In most situations, family is the first line of support for many facing a crisis. We often do not realise how a simple act of concern can create a huge impact and potentially change someone’s life. We can start by showing our loved ones that we care by initiating a conversation and providing a listening ear".

Each Honest Cookie is baked with a different question inside that helps people begin opening up about their feelings and how they are coping during difficult times. Simple, yet meaningful – it allows people to come together and share what’s truly on their minds. The ambition is to shift from a culture of silence, to one of openness and empathy, encouraging people to be honest about how they feel, and begin normalizing conversations around mental health – not only during the pandemic, but beyond.

The cookies will be distributed across various community centres, social service centres as well as corporate organizations. SOS has also partnered with foodpanda to distribute 10,000 of The Honest Cookies islandwide via one of their most popular partner – LiHo. Customers can receive a free cookie when they make a purchase via foodpanda across all LiHO outlets (available for both delivery or pick-up orders, while stocks last).

“Our collaboration with Samaritans of Singapore on The Honest Cookie project provides a timely reminder that taking care of one’s mental health is essential, especially in such uncertain times. Together with our partner LiHO, we want to make it even more convenient for our customers to get their hands on The Honest Cookie, and to encourage them to start having conversations about their feelings. We will also be distributing The Honest Cookie to all our panda employees as we want our pandas to set aside time to breathe and know that it is ok to ask for help. Through this initiative, we hope to strengthen the community support network and ensure that no one is left behind.” said Otavio Calixto, Managing Director, foodpanda Singapore.

Vanessa Tan, Strategic Communications Consultant and advisor for The Honest Cookie Campaign shared “The pandemic has placed many of us under an unprecedented amount of emotional and mental stress. With the increase in suicide rates among our elderly and youth, we need to have more authentic conversations with our loved ones, to provide timely comfort and support. Let us take this opportunity through this meaningful initiative to have that honest conversation with our loved ones today.”

Those who receive The Honest Cookie are encouraged to share their experience of ‘breaking the cookie’ with their loved ones via social media. To help create awareness of the #HonestCookieSG campaign, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Post a photo / video on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube account, sharing your experience of breaking open The Honest Cookie and having an honest conversation with someone else.
  2. Tell us more about who he/she is and what he/she means to you in the caption.
  3. Include hashtags - #SamaritansofSingapore #HonestCookieSG and tag three other friends to do the
  4. Remember to set your post / profile to public so that more people can benefit from your sharing!

People can also donate an honest cookie for just $2 via giving.sg to fund an honest conversation today. Visit the campaign website here for more details.

SAMARITANS OF SINGAPORE LAUNCHES SIGNATURE EVENTS

In conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day, SOS is also launching its inaugural Symposium and second run of the #HOWRU Virtual Walkathon.

SOS SYMPOSIUM – TRANSITIONS: HARNESSING STRENGTH AMIDST UNCERTAINTIES

SOS’ inaugural Symposium will run from 9 to 11 September 2021, with the theme "Transitions: Harnessing Strength Amidst Uncertainties". The Symposium intends to be a platform for more than 30 local and overseas professionals to share their knowledge on building resilience in times of crisis and invigorate strategic collaborations for suicide prevention.

The event will be graced virtually by our Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Finance and Patron of SOS – Mr Lawrence Wong.

SOS’s Symposium is supported by Platinum Sponsors: BinjaiTree, DBS Bank Ltd and Mr Lan Tian; Gold Sponsors: Woh Hup (Private) Limited and Johnson & Johnson, Bronze Sponsors: NTUC Fairprice Foundation, First REIT Management Limited, Serenity Casket and Dr Daniel Fung.

#HOWRU VIRTUAL WALKATHON – THE JOURNEY BEGINS WITH HOWRU

SOS’ #HOWRU Virtual Walkathon will run from 12 to 18 September 2021, with the aim of encouraging more in the community to take active steps to reach out to those around us and fundraise for the cause. Noting the impact that the pandemic has had across the world, the event is co-organised with regional partners - Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, Samaritans of Thailand and The Samaritans (Hong Kong) to amplify a stronger collective voice towards suicide prevention. SOS is also honoured to have the support of up to 30 local and overseas ambassadors to advocate for suicide prevention.

The event will be graced virtually by our Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Finance and Patron of SOS – Mr Lawrence Wong.

The #HOWRU Virtual Walkathon is supported by Platinum Sponsors: Mr Lan Tian, Activate Interactive and Y-SG Pte Ltd, Silver Sponsors: Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, Lim Kim Tah Foundation, Push Pull Give and Ms Chee Yin Chia; and Bronze Sponsors: Poh Tiong Choon Logistic, MUIS and Dato’ Tan June Teng Colin.

You may watch the #HOWRU Walkathon video here.

For emotional support

24 Hour Hotline

p 1800-221 4444

E-mail

m PAT@SOS.ORG.SG