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Better mental health screenings could lower Macao’s suicide rate, says lawmaker

According to legislator and clinical nurse Wong Kit Cheng, early detection of mental health issues, and early intervention, are crucial.

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PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Lawmaker Wong Kit Cheng is urging the government to improve mental health screenings, which could help lower Macao’s suicide rate, the Macau Post Daily reports

Wong, a clinical nurse with a master’s degree in applied psychology, told media she believed better risk assessments would lead to early detection of potential mental health crises – as well as to early intervention in cases where someone feels like ending their life.

Last year, a total of 88 people died by suicide in Macao, the youngest of whom was just 14. The figure was above the global per capita average and appeared to be growing, year-on-year.

[See more: There is now a website dedicated to improving Macao’s mental health]

“Youth suicide is often due to academic pressure,” Wong said. School counselling services were a crucial part of improving the overall mental health of Macao people, along with proactive interventions by social workers, she added. Wong also noted that treatments for psychological disorders tended to be long-term.

According to the Health Bureau, Macao’s authorities are committed to improving accessibility to mental health services, expanding social support networks, and mobilising the wider community to be more attuned to the mental health needs of those around them.

The Bureau has noted that the causes of suicide are often complex, and tend to involve mental illness, chronic disease, and causes of stress such as gambling problems or financial distress.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, call the Caritas Hope for Life Hotline. The English and Portuguese language service can be reached on 2852 5777 and operates from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm Sunday to Tuesday and from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Thursday to Saturday. It is closed on Wednesdays and Public Holidays. The Chinese language service operates 24/7 on 2852 5222. In an emergency, call 999, 110 or 112.

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