‘When I help people, I’m also healing’: The Samaritans behind a new suicide recovery support group

'When I help people, I'm also healing': The Samaritans behind a new suicide recovery support group

One person who understands this is Luke Tan, 43, who shared with the group his story about attempting to take his own life.

Luke struggled in a difficult relationship when he was in Australia in his 20s and 30s. During the global financial crisis, he lost his job as an account manager in an events company.

“That was the start of my downward spiral. Coupled with the fact that my relationship wasn’t ideal – it was toxic in a way for both of us – it was a big issue in my life,” he said.

As things hit a low, he tried to kill himself during a drug-induced psychosis when he was about 30.

After smashing his head on a car window, paramedics found him lying face down in a pool of blood.

“I didn’t know what happened. Emergency services came and only in the ambulance did I find myself cocooned up in blankets … by the time I got to the emergency room all my clothes were all crusty (with blood),” he said.

Shortly after that, he was arrested while at a party and spent a night in a holding cell. 

“I did not once again address the core issue, which was the relationship … I was pretty much living a hedonistic lifestyle. My partner found out that I was unfaithful to her and finally that blew everything wide out in the open.

“The friends I thought I knew – my closest network literally turned their backs on me instantly … there was extreme shame, guilt, self disgust – that was really the lowest point of my life.” 

He decided to turn his life around and focused on becoming a bodybuilder and personal trainer. 

As he climbed back on his feet, Luke also met his wife Emily – someone he said was at the “start of my journey”.

“She was there for me, and she was someone I could be fully open and honest with because she knew me at my lowest, she met me at my lowest,” he said.

He added: “We built our relationship on brutal honesty and trust, and having that honesty and trust, I share everything.”

When he came back to Singapore in 2015, he started working with SOS and is now part of the Light in the Dark programme.

“It’s become a compass for me. It’s given me a direction to focus, to feel and to support as well, and to know that I’m helping someone in an area that I’ve struggled with,” he said.