8 Aug 2007

Suicide prevention group in Samoa concerned about increasing suicide figures

10:51 am on 8 August 2007

A suicide prevention group in Samoa is worried about an increase in the number of suicides in April and March this year.

Figures available show the rate so far this year is higher than that for the same time in the previous five years.

The Executive Director Fa'ataua Le Ola, or Lifeline Samoa, Ofeira Salevao, says the increase earlier this year coincides with fears a travel advertisement may have been suggestive:

"The only suicide related issue that we are aware of in March and April was the screening and subsequent controversy over the Air New Zealand advertisements, which we pointed out had the contagen elements. Of course we cannot directly link these two as there is no evidence to do so. The ads were axed here in Samoa towards the end of April."

Oferia Salevao-Manutai says her organisation is continuing to run a free telephone service to offer help to those feeling suicidal.

She says her organisation is grateful the local media no longer sensationalises suicides or gives details as the copy cat factor can be significant.