26 May 2006

Praise for Samoa government and community effort to lower suicide rate

1:04 pm on 26 May 2006

The director of Samoa's anti-suicide group Fa'ataua Le Ola, or FLO, says her organisation can't take all of the credit for helping reduce the national suicide rate.

FLO has announced that suicide rates in Samoa have fallen below the world average.

Ofeira Salevao-Manutai says Samoa once had the dubious reputation of being the suicide capital of the Pacific, and the country with the third highest suicide rate in the world.

Samoa hit a high of 49 suicides in 1981, but she says the figure has dropped over the past four years and equalled the 1960s low of 10.

"I wouldn't be arrogant to solely claim it's just the work of Fa'ataua Le Ola. It's what we've been preaching and what we've been giving out to government leaders, religious leaders - you name it - that it is a collective effort and I am very proud to say that that is what has been happening."

Ofeira Salevao-Manutai says the challenge for Samoa to sustain the suicide decrease year after year.