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By Frederica Elbourne

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, June 23) – Fiji police say a rise in suicide attempts seems related to romantic relationships.

Of the three cases reported last week, one resulted in death. Sivani Lata of Votualevu, Nadi, poured kerosene on herself and set herself alight after an argument with her drunk boyfriend.

Police believe Ms Lata was upset with her boyfriend for consuming alcohol while they were on a picnic earlier that day.

In another case, a 69-year-old man drank weed killer to quell his ailing health, in particular his cough. He is recovering in hospital, Mr Koroi said.

Moti Ram of Yalasa, Ba, complained of shortness of breath and a disturbing cough. Police said he was exhausted and tired from lack of proper medical attention and sleeplessness.

Meanwhile, an 18-year-old girl was discharged from hospital after she tried to take her life by drowning herself.

Police said the woman had an argument with her boyfriend at Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi.

"She swam out to sea and a fishing punt pulled her in later," Mr Koroi said. The Social Welfare Department expressed concern in the trend of suicide cases, claiming a younger age group, and said mental health needed to be addressed.

Chief Executive Officer for Women and Social Welfare Emele Duituturaga said committee and non-government organizations were there to address such issues.

"This shows people are very desperate, to have to resort to suicide. We are bombarded daily with several cases and we don’t have the capacity to look into all of it. But no doubt mental health is the underlying issue here and it needs to be addressed. Those with the capacity to tap into networks that can help here should be encouraged do so.

"Families are out of touch with these victims or families who are under stress," she said yesterday.

June 23, 2004




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