OKAY TO TALK ABOUT SUI­CI­DAL THOUGHTS: MIN­IS­TER USA­MATE

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) es­ti­mates that over 800,000 peo­ple die by sui­cide each year. That is one per­son ev­ery 40 sec­onds.

Fiji Sun - - Suncity - SHRATIKA NAIDU Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika Feed­back: shratikan@fi­jisun.com.fj

Min­is­ter for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices Jone Usa­mate said the men­tal­ity that peo­ple would take their own lives when other peo­ple talked to them about sui­cide would lead them to do it was a myth.

“I be­lieve this is not true,” Mr Usa­mate said. “As a com­mu­nity we can help re­duce the nega­tive stigma sur­round­ing men­tal ill­ness by talk­ing openly about it.” Mr Usa­mate was speak­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing the World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day at Subrail Park in Labasa which was the last day he would of­fi­ci­ate in the port­fo­lio be­fore be­ing switched to be Min­is­ter of Em­ploy­ment, Pro­duc­tiv­ity and In­dus­trial re­la­tions.

“It is okay to talk about our prob­lems, ask oth­ers if they want to talk about theirs,” said Mr Usa­mate. “We need to get the mes­sage across that it is okay to talk about our men­tal health and well be­ing in our fam­i­lies, schools, and work­place.

“It is okay to ask for help if you need it; it is okay not to be okay.” Mr Usa­mate said the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) es­ti­mated that over 800,000 peo­ple die by sui­cide each year. That is one per­son ev­ery 40 sec­onds. “Up to 25 times as many again makes a sui­cide at­tempt.

“The tragic rip­ple ef­fect means that there are many more peo­ple who have been af­fected by sui­cide,” he said. “And this is hap­pen­ing in spite of the fact that sui­cide is pre­ventable.”

Photo: Shratika Naidu

A march through the street of Labasa Town dur­ing the launch of World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day yes­ter­day.

Photo: Shratika Naidu

Min­is­ter for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices Jone Usa­mate (wear­ing gar­land), among the stu­dents and staff of Min­istry of Health do­ing zumba dur­ing the World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day at Subrail Park in Labasa yes­ter­day.

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