9 Oct 2008

Inadequate support services to blame for high Fiji suicide rates

7:41 pm on 9 October 2008

Fiji's Women's Crisis Centre says the country needs better support services to deal with high suicide rates, especially among women and youths.

Last year, almost 170 people took their lives, more bout 40 percent of whom were aged between 16 and 25, while Indo-Fijian women were five times more likely to suicide.

An emergency line is available in the Western Division, but the public relies mainly on other organisations, such as churches, for counselling.

The centre's acting coordinator, Edwina Kotoisuva, says the support network available is inadequate.

"There's a shortage of support services for women, but there's also a lot of entrenched attitude about women and women's position in society that prevent women from seeking outside support when they are facing difficulties."

Edwina Kotoisuwa says the support agencies must become more independent.