19 Dec 2016

Tonga psychiatrist supports charges for attempted suicide

11:16 am on 19 December 2016

A psychiatrist in Tonga is supporting police charging people who have attempted suicide.

Tonga Police said the number of charges laid for attempted suicide was rising and there was a need for more mental health support.

Under the Criminal Offences Act, convictions for attempted suicide can be punishable with up to three years imprisonment.

Dr Mapa Puloka, who heads the Psychiatric unit at Vaiola Hospital, said enforcing the Act may be a deterrent to others who are suicidal.

Dr Puloka said it also forces the person to undertake counselling.

"The magistrate will allow us to continue on with the counselling and the treatment. Once you decriminalise it, people won't come back for counselling and treatment. But still if you still remain as a crime, you have to force people to come to us for counselling and also treatment."

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