As part of World Suicide Prevention Week, Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) has launched a new campaign – Wear a plaster. End the Silence.
The campaign encourages everyone to show their support by wearing an SOS plaster on their inner wrists. The plaster serves as a conversation starter, as the first step to prevent suicide is to simply talk about it.
From 7 September 2015, supporters will be able to download a virtual plaster, which they can add to their social media profile pictures and help spread the word.
On 10 September 2015, SOS plasters will be given out at several locations throughout Singapore. Supporters will be able to collect the plasters, wear them on their inner wrists, and post a photo with a heartfelt caption using the hashtag #howru.
Information on downloading the virtual plaster and collecting the SOS plaster can be found on sos.org.sg.
Ms Christine Wong, Executive Director of SOS, commented, "Plasters are usually used as a first-aid measure when people need to cover and protect a wound. When someone wears a plaster, people around them tend to ask what happened and how they are feeling. Emotional pain however, is not always visible. TBWA\ Singapore came up with a meaningful and interactive way to draw attention to what we cannot see. Through our #howru plasters, we want to remind people to be attentive to the emotional wellbeing of their loved ones. A caring person who asks 'How are you?' at the right time can make a difference between life and death."
The suicide prevention centre is seeing more cases where concerned family and friends are referring a loved one who is in crisis or has lost someone to suicide. The number of such cases has increased by 260% in the last five years – from 65 in FY10-11, to 234 in FY14-15. When SOS receives a referral, professional staff member initiates contact with the person at risk and offers emotional support.
A number of celebrities have already pledged their support for the campaign, including Mr SR Nathan, former President of Singapore; Jayley Woo, MediaCorp artiste; Stephanie Carrington, FLY Entertainment artiste; Oon Shu An, international stage and television actress; Narelle Kheng and Benjamin Kheng from local pop band The Sam Willows; and more.
Sharing his thoughts, Mr SR Nathan said, "...as [Singapore] becomes more affluent, the number [of suicide cases] is increasing..." He also added that Singaporeans must all look out for one another, as we are the first line of defence in preventing suicide.
According to statistics, suicide claims more than one life in Singapore every day. There are also a significantly higher number of men who take their own lives. People in crisis, feeling suicidal or who have lost someone to suicide can call 1800- 221 4444 (24-hour hotline) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for emotional support.