Foreigners living in China can sometimes feel very isolated, which might make depression or other mental health challenges even worse. It’s important to know that if your or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts or the trauma of someone else’s suicide, there are resources to help. One resource is located right here in Shanghai for English speakers: Lifeline Shanghai (China; English only), phone: (021) 62798990. If calling from outside China, use the country code of +86. For Chinese speakers, a resource is HopeLine: 4001619995 (Chinese speakers; 24/7 toll-free access within China).
According to the Lifeline Shanghai website (http://www.lifeline-shanghai.com/):
Lifeline Shanghai serves the English-speaking community with free, confidential, and anonymous emotional support via telephoneÂ 10AM to 10PM, 365 days a year. Our helpline offers an emotional support service that respects everyone’s right to be heard, understood, and cared for. Lifeline Shanghai helplineÂ assistants are ready to listen and support, helping you to gain another perspective and connecting you with other support services as needed.Â Trained volunteers offer emotional supportÂ and assist you to clarify options and choices that are right for you.Â â€‹
This service is for those with a wide variety of difficulties, not just suicidal thoughts. Appears to be a valuable addition to Shanghai’s expat resources.
Since many of my friends and some of my readers in Shanghai are part of my LDS religious community (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints),Â will also mention the excellent resources and list of external resources provided at the Church’s official page, “Suicide Prevention and Ministering Understanding and Healing from the Pain of Suicide” (https://www.lds.org/get-help/suicide/?lang=eng).
Although Shanghai is a prosperous and wonderful place, the problem of suicide is serious. Suicide rates are painfully high and is even a serious problem among children, perhaps due to the high pressure they face in school. See “Child suicides high in Shanghai” at the Christian Science Monitor (an old 2004 article). But suicide rates have been increasing in many parts of the world, including the US. Rates among young girls have actually tripled in recent years, a terrible development. See “Suicide rate triples among young girls: How can we stem the ‘silent epidemic’?,” also from the Christian Science Monitor.
If someone you know is showing signs of suicidal thoughts, take it seriously and lovingly work to support them and get help. Turning to outside expert help may be vitally important.