12 Nov 2008

Fiji hospital says children and young people need to know help is available

11:56 am on 12 November 2008

Fiji's St Giles Psychiatric Hospital says children and young people need to understand that there is help for them if they face difficulties.

This comes after the suicide of an eight year old boy last week.

Suicide rates are very high in Fiji, with 170 people taking their lives last year.

The hospital's acting medical superintendent, Odelle Chang, says some children can't cope with pressures.

She says children who can't seek help from their parents or teachers, they can talk to their church leaders, friends or relatives.

She says schools are also introducing coping strategies into classes.

"Children at a young age do have thoughts about death and dying. But suicidal thoughts in anyone are a passing phase and so it's being able to get that help. One of the things we've tried to address is to build up their resiliency and life skills. This has been incorporated into the new curriculum."

Odelle Chang says some schools also offer counselling.