In 2019, Singapore recorded a total of 400 suicide cases – of which, 2 out of 3 were males. These numbers are not only a cause for concern but points to an underlying societal issue. One that has been swept under the rug for generations.
“Men don’t cry”
For decades, men have been told they should never be caught shedding a tear or to appear incapable of handling their problems. Men who show the slightest sign of weakness are met with judgment and prejudice, creating a psychological barrier that prevents them from opening up to those around them. Today, this age-old stereotype is still very much prevalent amongst males, keeping them from sharing about their innermost struggles and their emotions.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels among Singaporeans are on the rise.
The economic downturn, rising unemployment rates coupled with reduced social interactions and feelings of uncertainty has created an urgent need to encourage open conversations about our struggles.
The 2020 SOS campaign, #SuicideSeesNoGender, was created by TBWA\ Singapore, its agency-in-partner since 2015, and homegrown production agency – The Momentum Singapore.
Launched on 6th September 2020, the campaign marks the start of Suicide Prevention Awareness Week with a film that takes viewers through the inspiring stories from men and their partners, who have experienced emotional struggles and suicide ideations.
The two-part film aims to break down the societal stigma and highlight the importance of both reaching out, and seeking help – regardless of gender. Throughout the week, local key opinion leaders will join the cause, in hopes of redefining what it takes to “Be a man”. The campaign will also invite the community to show their support through social channels via SOS’s community hashtag -#HopeThroughTheNight.
Gasper Tan, Chief Executive, Samaritans of Singapore -
“The guilt and shame associated with reaching out for help from those around us can be too high a barrier to many amongst us.
The first step to acknowledge your emotions will not be easy, but with the support from those around us, we can recognise that conversations can help break the heavy silence.
It is important that we address the stereotype that speaking up is a form of weakness. Instead, it is a courageous step to regain control – and that in itself exhibits great strength.”
Dan Chia & Roxane Wee. Creative team. TBWA\ Singapore -
We are grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community, especially towards such an important cause. We hope that through open conversations and support from the community, we are creating a healthier environment around the topic of suicide and mental health.
Winfred Kwan, Director, The Momentum Singapore -
“This has been an important project for me. I was taken aback by the number of suicide deaths in Singapore and the fact that men were two times more likely to take their own lives. It is not something that can be ignored. I immediately felt that we needed to jump on board. I hope that with these films, we can encourage men or anyone in need to step out of the dark and to know that it’s ok to reach out for help.”