The Taiwanese Society of Suicidology (TSOS) yesterday said the suicide rate in Taiwan had gradually dropped over the past few years, but people who are out of a job have a higher tendency to want to commit suicide than those with a job.
On World Suicide Prevention Day yesterday, TSOS chairman Lee Ming-been (李明濱) said “suicide has become a world-wide problem, and an average of about one million people commit suicide in the world each year, with an average of about one person that dying through suicide every 40 seconds and one person that attempts to kill themselves in every 4 seconds.”
Lee said that according to a telephone survey conducted by the TSOS this year, the results showed that 1.4 percent of the people surveyed had been disturbed by the thought of committing suicide in the past week, 6.9 percent of the people surveyed have emotional problems and 21.8 percent among these people have asked for help from medical facilities.
The survey results also revealed that the number of unemployed people under 40 who claim to have suffered from emotional distress was 1.98 times higher than the number of those employed and the number of unemployed people who have thought of committing suicide was 3.77 times of that of those with jobs.
In addition, for people aged over 40, the number of unemployed people who suffered from emotional distress was 3.55 times that of employed people, while the number of unemployed people who have thought of commiting suicide was even 6.13 times higher than that of people in employment.
“Suicidal tendencies are attributable to many factors, they are not down to just one simple reason, and our goal of suicide prevention by instructing people to deal with emotions is to help them achieve mental health and live happily,” Lee said.
He also said training “gatekeepers” to enforce the measures of “ask, respond and refer” — actively caring and asking, responding and accompanying, refering the individual to counseling or medical care facilities — have assisted suicide prevention in recent years.
Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said “according to the WHO’s classification of suicide rates, the suicide death rate of a nation is considered high when it reaches more than 13 per 100,000 of the population, and the suicide death rate in Taiwan finally dropped to about 12.3 per 100,000 of the population last year,” indicating suicide prevention measures proved effective.
The TSOS said everyone can become a gatekeeper of suicide behavior if they are willing to care a little more for others, pay more attention to listening to them and lending a helping hand to those individuals who showed signs of suicidal tendencies.