15 Dec 2003

Marshall Islands launches national suicide watch

4:24 pm on 15 December 2003

A National Suicide Watch has been launched in the Marshall Islands and will continue until January the 15th.

The Watch was declared by the Marshall Islands Counseling Association and comes as the republic faces its highest suicide rate in history.

There have been 37 reported attempts so far this year, 23 of which were completed.

But the Adviser to the Counselling Association, Michael Jenkins, says in reality the rate will be much higher especially in the outer islands.

Mr Jenkins says the National Watch was declared because the risk of suicide is greater during the holiday period.

"The people that are struggling with depression, the depression might be stable during that period but the perception is that everybody else in the world is getting happier. There is more celebrating going on, more partying going on. Other theories indicate there is more alcohol abuse, drug abuse during the time of the holidays. We would hope there would be quality times with families but in actuality, most time with family members have some aspects that are negative and stressful."