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A YouGov Omnibus survey has found a third of Singaporeans, among the 1,095 surveyed, have experienced some form of suicidal thoughts – with the trend being more prevalent in women and lower income earners.
More than a third of women and men surveyed has had suicidal thoughts (36% vs. 31% respectively). Meanwhile, lower income earners (earning less than S$4,000 a month) have higher instances of suicidal thoughts than high earners (earning more than S$8,000 a month) (37% vs. 31% respectively).
Having said that, the most commonly experienced mental health issues in Singapore are depression (72%) and anxiety (52%).
However, fewer than three in five (58%) go on to seek professional help for it – citing cost concerns as the number of challenge to getting professional help (47%).
The other challenges cited include time commitment, uncertainty on where to get help, and the worry about social stigma. The barriers to seeking mental health treatment are depicted below:
What was equally alarming was that one in five (23%) of Singaporeans have engaged in self-harm, with this trend particularly prevalent for younger Singaporeans (aged 18 to 24). In this age group, data shows that one in ten (10%) self-harm frequently.
As such, 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%). What was common to all generations was that a majority (64%) would be embarrassed to admit if they had mental health issues.
For employers – 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 a similar number (92%) think employees ought to be entitled to medical leave for mental health issues.
Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “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.”