September 10, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
TAIPEI–Fewer than a quarter of the people in Taiwan who have contemplated suicide have sought help from medical professionals because of the stigmas associated with the act, according to a survey released recently.
The Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center said the survey conducted July 1-15 found that 7.3 percent of the 2,158 respondents said they had serious emotional issues, and of that group 52.4 percent considered taking their own life.
The survey, presented at a seminar held Sunday by the center and the Taiwan Society of Suicidology in Taipei on suicide prevention, also found that several stigmas related to suicide remain embedded in the minds of many in Taiwan.
When given a list of propositions on suicide and asked if they agreed or disagreed with them, a large majority of the survey’s respondents agreed that “committing suicide is an act of an irresponsible person” (87.3 percent) and that it is a “selfish” act (81.7 percent).
Over 59 percent supported the idea that committing suicide is “an act of a weak person,” and 38.8 percent agreed that the act is “shameful.”
Such stigmas can make people with suicidal thoughts feel hurt and misunderstood and undermine suicide prevention efforts, the center said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Wu Den-yih called for eliminating the stigmas when attending a press event held by the society in conjunction with the seminar.
Wu noted that the efforts made by the center, set up by the government in 2005, and by the public have helped lower suicide rates in Taiwan from their peak in 2006.
According to the center, Taiwan’s suicide rate fell from 16.8 per 100,000 people in 2006 to 13.1 per 100,000 people last year.
To deal with the issue, Wu said the government continues to develop a suicide prevention network, which was launched in 2009, and it is also working on initiatives with the private sector.
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