Elderly refusing to seek help as suicide rate rises - RTHK
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Elderly refusing to seek help as suicide rate rises

2022-08-27 HKT 14:52
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  • Elderly refusing to seek help as suicide rate rises
A suicide prevention group on Saturday said that one of the reasons suicides amongst over-60s have been overlooked is that few elderly citizens are seeking help.

The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong said less than 13 percent of calls they received through their hotline last year were from people aged 60 or above, even though suicides were disproportionately high in that age group.

The Coroner's Court has reported that 446 people aged 60 or above committed suicide last year – the highest number in that demographic since 1973. Suicides among over-60s accounted for 44 percent of the total suicides recorded last year.

The group's executive director, Clarence Tsang, said elderly people all too often refused to seek help with problems.

"It's kind of a culture of Chinese people that makes the elderly try not to burden others, not to burden the younger generation," he said. "They don't even seek help at all sometimes. [We're] not even talking about calling a hotline; they don't even talk to their kids about their emotional problems."

Tsang said the community should give more support to over-60s as society had overlooked elderly suicides, with people focusing more on cases among teenagers.

"The population of elderly people in Hong Kong is getting higher and higher," he said. "The care that we give to them has to be more than before... There might be three younger people taking care of one elderly before, but now we may have less younger people to take care of them."

Tsang added that the SAR's ageing population was one reason for the community's lack of care towards the elderly.

Elderly refusing to seek help as suicide rate rises