The Suicide Prevention Services (SPS) on Friday said Hong Kong’s elderly suicide cases have hit a record-high last year, calling the situation "alarming".
The NGO said the 446 cases recorded last year accounted for 44 percent of the city's overall suicide cases.
The group said that according to the figures that came from the Coroner's Court, the number of elderly people taking their lives has climbed 56 percent since 2012, with the trend accelerating in the recent five years.
The executive director of SPS, Vincent Ng, described the situation as “alarming”, adding that the pandemic has added to their plight.
“According to our service experience…many elderly people feel lonely and cannot be with their family members because of the social distancing [measures]”, Ng said.
“Their physical condition is getting worse. They are facing chronic illnesses which make them feel very painful every day and cannot take care of themselves. They cannot live with dignity, so many of our service clients feel meaningless to live on.”
Ng added that the suicide rate among elderly men was much higher than women – in line with the prevailing trend around the world.
“I think the major culprit is gender stereotype,” said Dr William Chui, the group's honorary adviser and psychiatric specialist.
“The gender stereotype is that men or male should be strong, and being strong means you have no problem at all.”
“It’s alright for men to say ‘I’m in trouble’ and to get help,” he added.
Chui also urged people to show more care to the elderly people around them.
“The important message for everyone is that: give a phone call to all the elderly relatives and friends you know, do it tonight,” he said.