World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10 September every year. This day provides the opportunity for people around the world to raise awareness about suicide prevention. This year, Shan You and Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) are partnering once more to shine a light on mental health by using the arts as a vehicle to facilitate conversations and bring communities together. Kimberly Arriola, Assistant Learning and Engagement Manager at SRT, pens her thoughts on her journey as she prepares for the launch event of the Ycare: Walking in Their Shoes exhibition.
A few years ago, I lost a senior from school to suicide. My senior held a stable job, had hobbies, and pursued his passions. He was well-liked, and I had looked up to him. When we heard of his passing, we were all taken aback. As I mourned the loss, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt as to why we as a community were unable to notice the signs; why we were unable to reach out before it was too late.
This feeling of guilt is something which I carry with me till today.
Suicide shows up the deep crisis in our society; it is symptomatic of the breakdown of the collective conscience. It is not a personal failing.
-Emile Durkheim, French sociologist and pioneering thinker
In 2019, I was tasked to help manage the Let’s Talk: Mental Health series between Shan You Counselling Services and Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT). The series occurred at three points in the year, where each session focused on a different mental health issue beginning with depression, anxiety, and finally suicidality.
Through my involvement in the programme, I was able to gain a better insight into one’s struggle with mental health and in turn begin my own healing process.
The awareness and understanding which I gained about depression and suicide, is something which I believe we as a collective society need to urgently understand and better recognise the symptoms of. In 2020, 452 lives were lost to suicide, 52 more than the year before. Suicide is also the leading cause of death for young persons between the ages of 10 to 29 years-old. More often than not, an individual did not intend to take their own life, they just wanted to find a way in which they could end their pain.
What’s clear is that we need to have a national conversation so those who need help can find it. But how can we do so in a sensitive manner for such a delicate issue?
-Anthea Ong (2021), Nominated Member of Parliament
Hence, I am glad to share that this World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th of September 2021, Shan You Counselling Service and SRT are coming together again to shine a light on suicide prevention through the exhibit Ycare:Walking in Their Shoes. Where we invite you to listen to the collection of five verbatim stories of individuals challenged by suicide, and through walking with them, better understand the struggles one may face in dark times. The stories are also accompanied by psychoeducation content, which allows the viewer to learn about the symptoms and various coping mechanisms one can undertake to battle depression/suicide.
This exhibit is available for viewing online or through a physical exhibit that can be brought to your organisation. Should you wish to learn more about the exhibition, do visit- https://www.ycare.sg/
Thank you for doing your part to understand the challenges around suicidality and how we as a community can better support one another.