Suicide attempts in Taipei for financial reasons show no sign of decline 經濟壓力大想輕生 北市三年一千六百件

Mon, Mar 03, 2014 - Page 11

The suicide note left by a debt-ridden taxi driver named Liu Chin-yi who committed suicide by jumping in a river last year read, “Every day I’m the first out the door and the last home, and I still have to constantly borrow money to keep my family afloat.” President Ma Ying-jeou, however, still insists that “Workers leading poor lives is simply an illusion.” According to statistics from the Taipei City Government Suicide Prevention Center, more than 1,600 attempted suicides have occurred in Taipei over the past three years for work or financial reasons.

Data on the subject shows that 50 to 60 percent — the majority — of attempted suicides over the past three years in Taipei were due to “emotions or personal relationships.” The second major cause of attempted suicide is “mental health or substance abuse,” which made up about 40 percent. In 2011 and 2012, both causes showed a decrease, while the third major cause — “work or financial” — stayed at 15 percent and showed no sign of decline.

Billy Pan, a psychiatrist at Wan Fang Hospital, says that in recent years he has seen an obvious increase in the number of patients coming in due to unemployment or financial stress. Money is definitely a major source of stress in our lives, says Pan, adding that most of his patients are males between the ages of 20 and 40. Compared to women, men typically use more intense methods for committing suicide, usually ending their lives during the first attempt, so family members need to be more vigilant, Pan says.

Pan says that he has heard a lot of complaints recently from patients who had relied on government subsidy programs to cover medical costs. Once having relied on the low-income subsidies to survive, they were disqualified by the government because a family member is making money, such as an older brother getting his pension or a younger brother finding a job. It is possible, however, that these people have been out of contact with such family members for a long time and now are complete strangers to each other, Pan says, adding that civil servants who simply look at data in a file instead of the real situation can exacerbate a person’s mental illness, make depression worse, or can even cause a person to think about taking their own life.

Suicide Prevention Center director Chuang Tung-hsien says that you must find a friend, family member, or psychotherapist to talk to about your problems if you start having negative, suicidal thoughts. It offers a way to get your emotions out, Chuang says, adding that if a family member discovers anything out of the ordinary, they should be forthright in finding out what is wrong and how strong the desire to commit suicide is before gently counseling them in order to hopefully change their mind.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

去年計程車司機劉進義撐不過苦日子選擇跳水自盡,遺書上寫著「每天都是最早出門最晚回家,還要到處借錢來貼補家用」,但總統馬英九卻說「勞工生活過得很慘是錯覺」,據台北市自殺防治中心統計,近三年出於「工作/經濟」因素而自殺未遂的個案共達一千六百多件。

檢視相關數據,近三年台北市自殺未遂原因以「情感/人際關係」占比達五至六成最高;其次為「精神健康/物質濫用」,占四成左右,對比二○一一年與二○一二年,兩者均有下降;反觀位於第三名的「工作/經濟」因素,雖僅占近一成五,但卻不見減少。

萬芳醫院精神科主治醫師潘建志表示,近半年來,因失業或經濟壓力前來求診的病例明顯增加,「錢」確實是民眾很大的生活壓力,普遍以二十至四十歲的青、壯年男性居多,相較於女性,男性用的方式通常更強烈,往往一次就斃命,親人更需要留意。

潘建志強調,最近也有不少靠補助方案就醫的病患抱怨,原本賴以為生的低收入戶補助金,被政府以哥哥領到退休金或弟弟找到工作等親屬有收入為由取消資格,但這些人可能已長久未與當事人往來,說不定比陌生人還不如,公務人員卻只看帳面資料,無視真實情況,讓原本就有精神疾病的患者病情更加惡化,加重憂鬱症狀,甚至萌發輕生念頭。

台北市自殺防治中心組長莊東憲建議,萬一出現尋死的負面想法,一定要先找親朋好友或心理諮商管道將心中苦悶說出來,讓情緒找到出口,同時家人若發現有異樣,不妨直截了當詢問發生什麼事、輕生的念頭有多強烈,再進一步溫柔勸導,可望改變其心意。

(自由時報記者林惠琴)