Report by Pacific Media Centre – Niklas Pedersen reports from Suva. Video: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Niklas Pedersen in Suva

A suicide or attempted suicide is now reported every day and a half in Fiji, say police.

Over the past three years, 422 people has taken their own lives in Fiji. This is almost three times the number of road fatalities in the same period.

Those numbers were highlighted as hundreds of people marched through Suva for World Suicide Prevention day in the middle of September.

“This is one of the reports, I’ve noticed a sudden increase in over the last two years. As of now we’re almost receiving a report on suicide or attempted suicide every one and a half days,” says Rusiate Tudravu, Associate Police Commisioner.

The suicide prevention day came only two weeks after three young schoolchildren took their own lives in Suva by drinking paraquat. This year ten children under 16 have committed suicide in Fiji.

“Suicide is something we really need to raise awareness of. We can all play a part in Fiji in reducing the statistics by simply being more aware and more supportive and knowing where to find expert help, where it’s needed”, says Fiji’s Minister of Health and Medical Services, Jone Usamate.

And expert help has been easier to find since the National Child Helpline was launched in April.

Almost 4700 calls have been placed to the helpline in the first five months of its existence from children as young as five.

“It’s a good tool, because this gives children a platform, where they can voice whatever is bothering them. And slowly we are trying to raise awareness of how the wider community can use our helpline”, says Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar.

fiji anti-suicide pledge 350wide

This week the Fiji government is also taking more extraordinary measures to keep young people from taking their own lives.

All schoolchildren have been told to take an anti-suicide pledge,  reports Radio New Zealand.

Source: Asia-Pacific Journalism

Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.