9 Oct 2008

Fiji suicide numbers surpass road fatalities

5:54 pm on 9 October 2008

Statistics in Fiji show deaths as a result of suicides now outnumber those caused by fatal traffic accidents.

Suicide is highest among 16 to 25 year olds and among Indo-Fijian women.

The rates are highest in Fiji's northern and western division.

The St Giles Psychiatric Hospital's acting medical superintendent, Odelle Chang, says although numbers have declined from 243 cases in 2001 to 168 in 2007, they're still worrisome.

"Researchers have said that especially amongst our indian female population, we have some of the highest rates in the world. However we are noticing in recent years that while the indigenous Fijian population rates are low compared to the Indian population, the trend seems to show that they're probably increasing."

Odelle Chang says the hospital is running awareness campaigns and the public can contact church or other community leaders and a hotline if they need help.