FIJI SUICIDES ON THE RISE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (Feb. 14, 2000 - Radio Australia's Pacific Beat)---Officials in Fiji are considering ways to curb an alarming increase in suicide deaths, particularly among young housewives.

There were 90 recorded suicide cases in Fiji last year, police said.

So far this year, 15 people have committed suicide. Eleven of the cases this year have involved victims between the ages of 16 and 22.

In one case, a young female student committed suicide after receiving a poor report card in school.

"We may have found the symptom, but we have to dig deeper to find the root causes," said Director of Police Operations Superintendent Romanu Tikotikoca. "There may be mounting pressures. However, we don't have other motives at this point."

Superintendent Tikotikoca said an increasing number of young housewives who have problems communicating with their husbands are resorting to suicide.

The police are asking the community to provide assistance to couples and families who have domestic problems.

"We're asking those who have professional counseling expertise to (get involved)," he said.

Hanging and the consumption of weed killer are the two most common methods of committing suicide.

The police department has been meeting with government organizations in an effort to help curb the increase in Fiji's suicide rate.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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