​Giving Hope to Life 

Preventing Suicides caused by Mental Disorders

Globally, mental disorders affect 1 in 4 people. In Singapore, young adults are particularly affected, as those aged between 19 to 35 make up 45% of new patients each year. Among the various disorders, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most common. Characterised as an intense feeling of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness and hopelessness, MDD affects 5.8% of Singapore's adult population at some point in their lifetime. The depressed person may have suicidal thoughts or intentions which might lead to suicidal attempts or even actual suicide.

On the other hand, dementia is a prominent mental disorder disproportionally affecting the elderly. 1 in 10 aged 60 in Singapore has dementia, while half of those above 85 are impacted. Studies expect the numbers to rise from 82,000 to more than 100,000 between 2018 and 2030.

Without proper treatment and management, mental health conditions can make one more vulnerable to suicidal tendencies. According to WHO's report in 2019, 1 suicide occurs every 40 seconds on average. Locally, the number of suicides has risen by 10% in 2018, with all age groups seeing an increase in cases.

However, suicides and mental disorders can be prevented. To curb suicides, mental illnesses have to be addressed. Research is key to shaping how clinicians treat and deal with mental disorders. Research improves their insight of conditions, enhances their ability to identify individuals who at risk, and enable early intervention and prevention of complications. As a result, improved care and treatments that reduce suicides are formulated, giving hope to life to these patients.

Our Research Track Record:
In NHG, our mental health research is spearheaded by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). Their achievements include:

Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS), a first-in-Asia scale targeting multi-ethnic Asian populations, showed crucial findings that benefited researchers internationally.

Well-being of the Singapore Elderly (WiSE) Study, which established the prevalence of depression and dementia in the elderly popular, was cited in the World Alzheimer Report 2015.

You too, can shine a light for people with mental health conditions. Your support helps clinicians to:

•Understand and create awareness of mental health in Singapore to enable prioritising of mental illnesses to be targeted.

•Identify, treat and reduce harm from mental disorders.

•Develop more effective and sustainable treatments.

Find out how you can help patients with mental disorders and stop suicides.


[1] Institute of Mental Health. Mental disorders affect 1 in 4 people in the world. Singapore; IMH. file:///D:/NHG/NHG%20Research%20Brochure_single%20pages.pdf.

[2] Lim, J. (2019, October 14). The Big Read: With youths more open about mental health, it's time others learn to listen. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/mental-health-youths-suicide-depression-listen-11994612.

[3] Nearly 3 in 4 persons with dementia in Singapore feel ashamed, rejected: Study. CNA. (2019, April 29). https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/nearly-3-in-4-persons-with-dementia-in-singapore-feel-ashamed-11487380.

[4] World Health Organization. (2019, September 9). Suicide: one person dies every 40 seconds. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/09-09-2019-suicide-one-person-dies-every-40-seconds.

[5] Suicides in Singapore up 10% last year, record high among boys. CNA. (2019, July 29). https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/suicides-number-2018-teenagers-boys-highest-11761480.