Published: 04 February 2020
Ms Anthea Ong: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the changes in protocol for SPF, SCDF, IMH and other agencies respectively given the decriminalisation of suicide from 1 January 2020; (b) whether the Ministry will consider including suicide first-aiders as part of the SGSecure Responder effort in the SGSecure application, similar to how first-aiders are tapped on to respond to individuals with physical health emergencies; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider piloting an emergency response model that adopts a specialised mental health ambulance or emergency response team.
1. As attempted suicide is no longer a crime, SPF will no longer record it as an offence. However, the Government will continue to track data on attempted suicide that are made known to us.
2. The member suggested tapping on first-aiders to help in cases of attempted suicide. SGSecure Responder is an initiative to alert community responders to fire and cardiac arrest cases. It is much more challenging for community responders to intervene in attempted suicide cases due to their complexity. Members of the public should continue to call the Police or SCDF.
3. The member also suggested specialised emergency response for suicide cases. That may not be feasible. We have SPF and SCDF officers who are trained to intervene in suicide attempts, and they will be mobilised when such cases are reported. The SPF’s Crisis Negotiation Unit will also help where necessary. The SCDF’s Disaster Assistance and Rescue Teams (DART) are specially trained for complex rescue operations, including cases of attempted suicide at height and in confined spaces. There are also helplines, such as the IMH’s 24-hour Mental Health Helpline, that distressed persons can call.