Mental Health | Movember 2020

Latest statistics show that the number of male suicides in Singapore is double that of women. 

Mental health experts are not surprised by this finding. Men are generally less willing to express their vulnerabilities. They usually feel it’s not manly to be sharing their feelings or problems. 

Suicide prevention service Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) said 239 men committed suicide in 2017, compared with 122 women.

The majority of the men were 60 years old or older.

• Men are often reluctant to openly discuss their health or how they feel about the impact of significant life events;

 • Men are more reluctant to take action when they don’t feel physically or mentally well, and; 

• Men engage in more risky activities that are harmful to their health. 

These behaviours are strongly linked to adherence to some harmful aspects of traditional masculinity. Men often feel pressure to appear strong and stoic, and talking about feeling mentally or physically unwell can be perceived as weakness. By allowing negative and harmful aspects of masculinity to be considered the norm, men feel there’s only one way they can be considered “manly”.

How to prevent it?

Use the ALEC model


Start by asking how he’s feeling. It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on: has he stopped replying to texts? Does he sound different on the phone? Has he gone quiet in the group chat? Use a prompt like,”You haven’t seemed yourself lately – are you feeling OK?”
Trust your instinct. Remember, people often say “I’m fine” when they’re not, so don’t be afraid to ask twice.

You can use something specific you’ve noticed, like, “It’s just that you haven’t been replying to my texts, and that’s not like you.”


Give him your full attention. Let him know you’re hearing what he’s saying and you’re not judging. You don’t have to diagnose problems or offer solutions, but asking questions lets him know you’re listening. Ask a question like, “That can’t be easy – how long have you felt this way?”

Encourage Action

Help him focus on simple things that might improve how he feels. Is he getting enough sleep? Is he exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped him in the past – it’s worth asking. Suggest that he share how he’s feeling with others he trusts. This will make things easier for both of you. And if he’s felt low for more than two weeks, suggest that he chat to his doctor.

Check In

Follow up your conversation with a phone call or FaceTime. This helps to show that you care; plus, you’ll get a feel for whether he’s feeling any better.

Where to seek help?

Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222

Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800

Shan You Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 6741-0078

Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928

Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788

Start a conversation with your friends and loved ones. Create awareness. Encourage those at risk to seek help. Together we can help to reduce deaths among men from the above conditions.

Also See:

8 Ways on How to Cope with Anxiety

1 in 7 people has experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime. The top 3 conditions often faced are Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety.

In generalized anxiety disorder, feelings of anxiety overwhelm and affect one’s daily functioning and life. Other symptoms experienced by those with anxiety include: feelings of nervousness, feelings of impending doom or danger, heart rate increased, hyperventilating, sweating profusely, trouble concentrating and staying focused. 

Many things can add to one’s anxiety, the stress of life, work, relationships. Problems at home, marriage, finances. These are all very real daily struggles which can make one anxious.

Here are some top tips you can adapt to build your mental resilience and defeat anxiety!


8 Ways on How One Can Cope & Manange with Anxiety

1) Exercise Daily

Exercise causes hormones known as endorphins to be released. These “feel good” hormones help relieve pain, activate our reward receptors and overall gives one a happy and positive feeling. 

Exercise has also been shown to improve one’s self-confidence. This, in turn, can lead to more positivity when dealing with a stressful or anxious situation.



2) Have Enough Sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, one’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycle can get affected. When this happens, the hormones and chemicals in the body get to go into a state of imbalance. These chemicals imbalance is also what causes the symptoms of anxiety.

It is a vicious cycle because poor sleep triggers anxiety and anxiety triggers poor sleep. It is, therefore, useful to adopt good sleep hygiene or if your sleep is severely affected, to speak to a medical professional for advice.

3) Keep Work at the Workplace

An old saying goes, work hard play hard. However, as we look deeper there is wisdom in this adage because working hard during work time allows one to stay focused and channelled and play hard allows one to forget about the stress at work and fully recharge and recuperate for the next challenge back at work.

But in short, keep work at the workplace 🙂

4) Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol

Caffeine causes one’s heart rate to go up. When your heart beats faster, it can worsen the nervousness that you experience.

 On the other hand, some people have found that alcohol helps with their anxiety, especially in social settings. But the flipside is, when the alcohol wears off, the anxiety may recur. And again it becomes a vicious cycle: taking alcohol again to gain “liquid courage”.This inadvertently becomes a slippery slope of alcohol dependence and is very dangerous. 


5) Seek Treatment

There is no shame in seeking help. Not all help revolves around medications. In fact, psychological therapy in the means of counselling helps one deal with anxieties. This coupled with medications to help restore the chemical imbalances in the mind. 

Again, it doesn’t mean that if you start taking medications, you have to start taking it for life. With appropriate support, counselling and help, one can eventually cut down the amount of medication taking and even stop it completely.

6) Talk to Someone

2 heads are better than 1, talking to someone close, friend or family lets you share your burdens and concerns. In that way with this social support, you would not have to bear the stress and anxiety of the situation all by yourself.



7) Be Active in Your Community

There are many activities you can take part in or even volunteer at your local community. This may be in the form of a soup kitchen, working with seniors at an aged home or even an awareness programme for abandoned animals.

 Sometimes, by helping others who are less fortunate, it takes the spotlight of our own plight and in turn help, one sees that the stress and anxiety response to your situation may not be as what another person is going through.


8) Find a Creative Hobby

A new hobby helps you channel your extra energies and time! Instead of worrying about something that may or may not be there, something that you may or may not be able to change. A new hobby can enrich your life and whilst doing this past time, you may learn a new skill or talent as well!


In short stay positive, stay resilient!

Take Care.

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5 Ways to Fight Depression