The Macau SAR registered a total of 36 suicides between January to July, an increase of six compared to the same period last year.
According to a statement issued by the Health Bureau (SSM), the increased number of cases was probably due to the psychological and economic pressures caused by Covid-19.
“A single case of suicide is already too much and that is why cooperation between all sectors of society is necessary, so that we can all protect life,” the bureau noted in the statement.
The causes of suicide are complex and often involve several factors. Therefore, SSM reminds those suffering or facing difficulties to seek help from health professionals.
During June, police authorities reported that five suicides and attempted suicides had occurred within a span of 10 days.
As previously reported by the Times, Stella Cheong, president of the Macau Society of Registered Psychotherapists, has said that stress for many people has worsened due to the pandemic. However, in general, Cheong says that the government has been doing “good work” to strengthen its social community services.
Data from the suicide prevention and emotional aid hotline Life Hope Caritas shows that the number of suicide cases for the whole year may be more or less the same as last year, however. The hotline receives an average of 20 calls per month related to suicide, depression or personal matters such as marital problems.
The city’s health centers offer external mental health consultations, where patients sometimes need to wait a month for their initial consultation. The Times is aware that follow-up consultations for some patients are done every two weeks depending on the situation of the person and the availability of the psychologist.
Data from the World Health Organization shows that 800,000 people commit suicide every year. Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day 2020, themed “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” The SSM is calling on residents to light a candle at 8 p.m. to remember the deceased and raise awareness of the prevention of suicide.