Two people have committed suicide by jumping off the same block of buildings in the centre of town in the space of five months. It is the block with the Bacco bar at one end and the Kidnapped bookshop at the other. The first in March was a 42-year-old male and the most recent in July a 53-year-old woman, Senior Inspector Max Yip, operations chief at the Sai Kung station, said.
Max advised people in distress or worried relatives or friends to contact the Social Welfare Department or an NGO (details below). He also recommended the owners of the buildings make certain changes. We shan’t report what they are for fear of copycat tragedy.
In the past two years Sai Kung has experienced 26 suicide attempts with three fatalities. Max’s predecessor Janet Chan said, “Usually when called, we can save them.”
In Hong Kong the suicide rate per 100,000 people is 12.3, according the the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention. A total of 893 people died this way in 2014. Males are twice as likely to commit suicide as females. The major cause of unnatural death among Hong Kong children is suicide.
Signs to watch for if you are concerned someone could be suicidal, the American Association of Suicidology says, are: Ideation, substance abuse, purposelessness, anxiety, trapped, hopelessness, withdrawal, anger, recklessness and mood changes.
Agencies that will provide confidential emotional support for people in distress or those seeking advice: Samaritans 2896 0000, Suicide Prevention Service 2382 0000, Social Welfare Department Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre 2341 7227.