IT HAS been over a week since the tragic murder- cum-suicide of two children and their father in Ang Mo Kio. Many condemned the father, who was believed to have killed his two young children before setting fire to his Housing Board flat and falling to his death.
However, he might have struggled before making his final decision.
Similar tragedies have occurred every two to three years in the recent past.
In May 2003, an engineer strangled his 10-year-old son in his bedroom before jumping to his death from a Yishun flat.
In March 2004, a woman plunged to her death with her two young daughters from a Chin Swee Road block.
In January 2006, a man tried to strangle his wife and started a fire in a Tampines flat.
The factors contributing to family murder-suicides are usually related to marital, financial and health issues.
There are many avenues of assistance in Singapore for families facing problems.
They include ComCare, the Samaritans of Singapore, Credit Counselling Singapore, community development councils and family service centres.
Individual or family support networks such as relatives, neighbours and friends also play an important role.
However, people close to those in need should approach professionals for help if the problems faced by their loved ones are serious.
This way, they would not have to bear the burden of providing support alone.
The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and community clubs could do more to raise awareness on the value of family bonds.
Grassroots leaders could also be trained to identify families which are at high risk of falling through the cracks.
Mr Kuak Keian Meng
Where to get help:
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours)
Comcare Helpline: 1800-222-0000
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