7 Oct 2003

Pacific Islands have the highest suicide rate in the world

8:17 am on 7 October 2003

A regional mental health workshop in Suva has been told that the Pacific now has the highest suicide rate in the world.

Radio Fiji reports that the figures presented show that 50 out of every 100-thousand youths between the ages of 15 and 21 commit suicide every year.

The Masculinity, Mental Health and Violence workshop is being attended by regional experts.

According to the Foundation of the South Pacific International, suicide is just one of the chronic mental health problems facing the region.

The Foundation's chief executive, Rex Horoi, says men are less likely to seek treatment for depression and more likely to engange in substance abuse, violence and suicide.

Mr Horoi says all too often women suffer from the results of violence, which is why they have initiated a project aimed at preventing men from using violence to assert their masculinity.

The New Zealand aid funded project will run from 2003 to 2005 and will operate in Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.