Suicide helplines in Hong Kong are available in English
In recent articles in this paper concerning suicide, the telephone numbers of certain hotlines were given at the end. Most of these hotlines are for Cantonese speakers. Being an English-language newspaper, it is more advisable for the South China Morning Post to give the telephone number for the Samaritans – where all volunteers are fluent in English, and they also include some Cantonese and Mandarin speakers.
There were 922 suicides in Hong Kong in 2015, with the highest number being among those aged 60 or above. Despite limited resources, the Samaritans run a 24-hour hotline to listen, raise emotional health awareness, and encourage anonymous callers in need to seek emotional support.
Furthermore, outreach programmes are provided, such as the youth programme and the support group for people bereaved by suicide. The Samaritan volunteers will have attended an intensive training programme concerning various aspects of suicide and the skills required to be an active, empathetic, non-judgemental listener – followed by a shadowing period – before answering any calls. I hope that the telephone number 2896-0000 will be included in future articles.
Peter A. Tanner, Sai Wan Ho