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Living in a Country Where Suicide Is Illegal

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Section 309 of Singapore’s penal code states that a suicide attempt is something you can be imprisoned for. There are three sections altogether that address the issue of suicide. While this is meant to deter people from trying to attempt suicide, I feel it does more harm than good.

For one thing, it may act as a motivator. A suicide attempt that does not end in death would lead to a criminal record, and who wants a criminal record, right? So, better put in more effort to ensure you will die. For another, it stigmatizes those who have attempted suicide, and forces them to forever live in the shadow of their attempts. It hinders their chances of being employed, which in turn might lead to a sense of bitterness and regret. Not regret over the attempt — but regret that they didn’t die.

My last attempt in 2012 landed me in Accident and Emergency. The police wanted to handcuff me to the hospital bed. After my parents refused, they had two police officers stand guard outside the room door instead. A few months later, I had to go down to the police station to be issued a warning letter, stating that if I attempted again, I could be sentenced to prison for up to a year, and/or be fined. I walked out of the station thinking, “You won’t get me next time.” I proceeded to plan what I thought was the “perfect suicide,” but (thankfully) did not go through with it.

Earlier this year, I applied for a job. The face on the interviewer’s face after I told her about my attempt – and my illness – made me feel absolutely horrid. Even though I got the job in the end, it is terrible knowing my illness hindered my chances of getting the job, and most likely will continue to do so in the future. I doubt many would want to hire a counselor who has attempted suicide. I did not intend to talk about the “offense” unless I was obligated to, and it was on the application I filled in after the interview. The interview went great, but I doubt it would’ve gone so well if I had to fill in the form before the interview. I would have spent the interview being looked at through tinted glasses, and there would be a sign above my head exclaiming, “Don’t hire her!”

I blog openly about my illness and my history, probably making it seem like I do not care if I am judged for it. On the contrary, it hurts knowing I am being judged for it, and it is absolutely horrid to know it will affect my future so much.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: January 23, 2017
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