3 May 2011

Guam officials work more closely with schools in suicide prevention

8:35 am on 3 May 2011

A mental health official in Guam says there's an alarming rate of suicide in the territory, and an upward trend in teenage victims.

Department of Mental Health statistics show one person commits suicide every two weeks on Guam, and 60 percent of them are aged under 30.

Four teenagers from the Southern High School area have committed suicide since last August, and a teacher says the school was not helped with suicide prevention initiatives.

But mental health department prevention and training supervisor Barbara Benavente says they are working closely with schools and training more people in suicide prevention.

She says difficulty coping with personal or family relationships appear to be a common factor

"There is a disconnect that individuals feel with the people around them. They have a hard time coping with feelings of rejection, with some areas around family violence as it relates to alcohol abuse."

Barbara Benavente says Chamorro people are more at risk of suicide.