24 May 2004

Funding call to fight Marshalls suicides

12:36 pm on 24 May 2004

Counsellors in the Marshall Islands say more funding and support are needed to counter rising suicide rates.

26 Marshall Islanders killed themselves in 2003 which is an increase of more than 300 percent on the eight recorded in 2000.

Michael Jenkins, a psychologist, says if it was 26 AIDS cases, there would be a different level of government interest.

Mr Jenkins says despite a population of just 55,000, the Marshall Islands has one of the highest per capita suicide rates in the world.

Men aged between fifteen and thirty seem to be most at risk.

He says it's critical for the government to throw its weight and funding behind suicide prevention programmes aimed at addressing the epidemic.