Officials from the New Taipei City (新北市) Government yesterday said the city government would for now not consider instituting a suicide prevention measure requiring charcoal buyers to submit their names, IDs and phone numbers at the place of purchase.
New Taipei City Public Health Department deputy director Lin Chin-fu (林金富) made the remarks in response to a rumor that the city government was planning to adopt that measure to save lives, given that carbon monoxide poisoning is the nation’s most common method of committing suicide.
Lin said the department was considering proposals and New Taipei City’s suicide prevention measures have yet to be finalized.
Other proposed measures include placing suicide warning notices on charcoal packages and posters in public places such as construction sites, bridges and buildings to remind people to cherish and respect life, the department said.
According to New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), the city’s high suicide rate is related to the environment and suicide prevention measures are needed in every modern city.
However, it is impossible to reduce suicide rates simply by regulating the purchase of charcoal, he said. It requires the efforts of parents, friends and special teams to help people overcome emotional hurdles, he added.
The city’s health department said one of its key tasks this year was to implement suicide prevention regulations and host training sessions.
Meanwhile, the city’s education department will highlight life issues in school activities among young people, the city government said.
About 66 percent of the suicides recorded in New Taipei City last year were linked to relationship issues, while 15 percent were related to depression, according to health department figures.
Problems related to jobs, disease and drug abuse were among the top reasons cited for attempted suicides in the city, it added.
The city’s suicide rate peaked in 2008, when more than 700 people took their own lives during the economic downturn, statistics show.