SUICIDE RATE DROPS IN SAMOA

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 25) – An international report shows that suicide rates in Samoa have fallen below the world average.

The news has been welcomed by the local Fa’ataua le Ola, or Save Life, organization which was established in 2000 to help address Samoa’s suicide rate.

The report says that like many countries in the world, Samoa has had to battle with unacceptably high suicide rates.

The increase between 1979 and 1981 took the rate in the country well above the global average as reported by the World Health Organisation.

Fa’ataua le Ola has confirmed that last year Samoa’s suicide rate was one fifth of the previously highest figure.

The director of Samoa’s anti-suicide group Fa’ataua Le Ola, or FLO, has praised the government and community leaders for their role in helping reduce the national suicide rate.

FLO has announced that suicide rates in Samoa have fallen below the world average.

Samoa has had to battle with unacceptably high suicide rates with a high of 49 suicides in 1981, but the figure has dropped over the past four years and equaled the 1960s low of 10 in 2005.

Ofeira Salevao-Manutai says Samoa had the dubious reputation of being the suicide capital of the Pacific, and the country with the third highest suicide rate in the world.

But she says the FLO has had the collective support of government and religious leaders among others in reducing the rates and addressing suicide issues openly.

"All the different sectors, involved and very supportive of the work of our organisation, are now stepping forward to make sure that we work together on this problem. And I think that’s why we’re having good results now. But the challenge for our organisation is the sustenance, is for us to sustain the decrease year after year."

May 29, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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