9 Sep 2020

Fiji records drop in suicide cases

7:45 pm on 9 September 2020

Warning: This story discusses suicide and could be distressing for some readers.

The mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in Fiji are not as severe as in other countries, the government says.

Health Minister, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete Photo: Fiji Govt

The Health Ministry said it has recorded 72 suicide cases so far this year compared to 89 in the same period last year.

Launching the Mental Health Awareness Month in Suva on Wednesday, Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said there had also been a drop in attempted suicide cases.

"The fear and anxiety that Covid-19 brings is putting pressure in many first-world countries," the minister said.

"Fiji is fortunate we have no community transmission so that allows our children to return to school, that allows us to go to work and be able to enjoy a game of rugby and soccer on the weekend, and ultimately in some ways that helps with our mental health."

Waqainabete said there were sufficient services available to address mental health issues in Fiji.

With stress wards in Lautoka, Labasa and the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, the ministry has a cohort of trained doctors and nurses available to the public, he said.

Latest Covid case no threat to the public

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has reassured the public there's no threat to the community from a new case of Covid-19 in border quarantine.

The ministry said the latest patient was a 64-year-old woman who arrived on a repatriation flight from India on 27 August.

Waqainabete said as with all prior border cases, the woman had been under strict border quarantine conditions since arriving.

These include a compulsory 14-day quarantine at a government facility under military supervision.

Fiji now has six active cases of Covid-19, all in border quarantine.

Where to get help

These are services across the Pacific for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

In Tonga: Lifeline 23000 or 25144

In Fiji: Lifeline 667 0565, Fiji Women's Crisis Centre 3313300 (24 hours) Mobile: 9209470

In Papua New Guinea: Lifeline Port Moresby 326 0011, 1-Tok Kaunselin Helpim Lain 7150 8000

In Samoa: Lifeline 800-5433

In the Cook Islands: Te Kainga O Pa Taunga 20162

In American Samoa: 252-3502 or 770-1571