2 Mar 2004

Fiji authorities alarmed by rising suicide rate

4:10 pm on 2 March 2004

Alarming suicide figures have been revealed in Fiji with the rate among ethnic Indians thirteen times higher than in other races.

A suicide prevention workshop in Suva has been told that more than one hundred people on average have been taking their own lives every year for the past six years.

The figures took an upward swing after the coup in May 2000.

Most of the increases have been in rural communities.

The superintendent of St Giles Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Shish Narayan, has told Fiji TV that the displacement of people through expiring land leases and the pressure this has put on families are among the causes of the increase in suicide rates.

The acting vice chancellor of the USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra, says many of those who take their lives are well-educated and in addition to the loss to their families, there are economic losses.

He has estimated the loss of the investment in their education and future productivity at around 18 million US dollars a year.