The Taipei Department of Health yesterday said that the number of suicides of young people in the city has grown rapidly in the past two years, adding that mental health issues are the main reasons for suicidal behavior.
Last year, 339 people died from suicide in the city, a decline of 10 people from 2018, the department said, citing Ministry of Health and Welfare data.
However, the number of deaths from suicide among people aged 15 to 24 increased from 17 to 28, or by 64.7 percent, showing that suicide prevention measures for the age group needs immediate attention, it said.
The Taipei City Government yesterday held a news conference and set up an interactive display booth at Taipei City Hall to raise public awareness about suicide prevention.
The city government’s suicide prevention center said the top three reasons for suicidal behavior among young people last year was mental health issues (36.3 percent), family or intimate relationship problems (32.9 percent) and school adaptation problems (10.7 percent).
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said most people think that it is natural to seek medical attention when they are ill or injured, but many people feel embarrassed to see a doctor when they have emotional problems or suicidal thoughts.
However, in many cases, depression is linked to imbalances of neurotransmitter levels in the brain, and the condition can significantly improve after taking medication, he said, adding that although not all mental illnesses can be fully cured by treatment, they are likely to improve significantly.
Data suggest that the risk of suicidal behavior in people with suicidal intentions can be reduced by 63 percent in two years through psychotherapy, he said.
He urged people to remember the four steps — be cautious, ask, listen and refer — if they have friends or family members who seem to be have emotional problems, as sometimes showing concern by asking how they are and listening to them can help them feel better.
If they are experiencing depression, referring them to a psychiatrist or psychological counselor can help prevent suicide, Ko added.
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