Suicide, we know it, it is still problematic subject, which affects our families, our schools, our churches and our communities, but we talk about why our young people dying. According to the World health organisation (WHO) states that about 800,000 people in the world, dies of suicide every year, where one commit or attempts in every 40 seconds
Suicide is the second leading causes of death amongst 15-19 olds international, The world health organisation also states that 79 per cent of suicides happened in developing & least- developed countries in and accounted for 1.4 per cent of all deaths global, making it the 18th leading cause of death in 2016.
Mental Health is an under prioritized, under resourced area and this has cost many lives, lives of young people who we have lost to suicide. This fact fuelled my passion to ensure that the voices of our young people are heard and our plea responded to.
Our culture of silence has killed so many young people and our cries for help have been drowned out. Fiji is always seen as a tropical paradise, one with lush vegetation, blue pristine waters, beautiful coral reefs and happy people; however a sad reality is that beneath our smiles and friendly BULA spirit is a population of unhappy people who are turning to suicide as a way out.
We are currently witnessing an increase in suicide statistics and as a small grassroots organization with no core funding, we struggle to do our best with whatever little resources we have to respond to every young person in distress.
By Endeavour to spread message of hope and save lives by creating dialogue platforms where young people can access support and address their psychological needs, dialogue processes that are contextualised and linked with our cultural/traditional ways of learning and sharing.
Suicide is an option for someone who is experiencing immense emotional pain, but when a community responds to this individual using hope and empathy based approaches, the outcome is positive. We save lives by being first responders during times of crisis.
With Suicide being a taboo topic/issue in most families, has only contributed to the increasing number of completed cases within the country and the region. We fail to educate our community on the importance of prioritizing mental health and this evident with the continuous increasing number of suicide deaths among young people every year.
For children, it’s the background at home and school that adds to their emotional wellbeing. Idealistic pressures at home to perform exceptionally in school can also thrust a child to the verge of suicide. Bullying in schools can also affect the attitude of our younger generation – children. Unless we address these issues, it could lead young people to contemplate suicide.
Understanding Suicide is also important so we as a community may offer the support that is needed first hand for our young people in distress. We need to create a community of care and acceptance so that we may be able to better support our young people. We also need to understand our role as a community in taking responsibility and creating spaces that young people can relate to and are also comfortable sharing their issues with.
With the limited resources available, we thrive to make a change in young people towards the prioritization of mental health and suicide prevention. We need to encourage more positive coping mechanisms for young people to deal with their social, economic and physical aspects of our daily lives. We need to build young people to be resilient in their own ways and accept them for being who they are.
We have witness many young people using negative coping mechanisms to survive daily stressors and struggles. However, we need to acknowledge that these young people have identified some ways to cope with issues on hand.
Youths nowadays faces a lot of hardships, stressors and struggles and everything in life from family expectations, relationships breakups and whatever traumatic experience they come across. We try to build their resilience from there and try and teach them about the use of positive coping mechanisms which is vital for everyone to identify and understand. Most importantly we need to break barriers and teach these young people the importance of sharing their feelings and thoughts to someone they trust.
Working with young people is very different as I get to learn about dynamic individuals since everyone has their own personality; everyone is doing something different on the table which is a good thing and is one of the vibrant things in working with young people in this field.
We as young mental health advocates needs to exist to help our peers since we can better relate to how they’re dealing with their stressors and struggles. We exist so young people are able to break down the barriers and open up about some of the hardships they go through daily. We should also continue to advocate for spaces where young people exist.
Youth Champs 4 mental health (YC4MH) is only youth led organization in the country that is working in Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Fiji. And in using our peer to peer approach, we understand what young people are going through and we use that and the passion that we have towards Mental Health and Suicide Prevention to relate to their issues.
As a young Trans-feminist Activist working in this field, I am continuously making significant change so young people are accepted by their family and community for who they are. Completed suicide cases are increasing annually in Fiji particularly for our young population and this is one of the many reasons as to why I’m continuously engaged in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in my country.
Suicide has killed more young people in Fiji (ages 15-24) compared to other forms of youth mortality in previous years and is still the leading cause of death among our young population to date. My passion towards this cause will continue unless and until we achieve Zero Suicide in Fiji and The Pacific.
10th September Marks #WorldSuicidePreventionDay, Youth Champs 4 Mental Health Exhibits its Annual Silencing Stigma Campaign, We spent 24hours advocating for the Rights of people living with Mental Health Difficulties and Experiencing what they go through on a daily basis.
[caption id=”attachment_929″ align=”alignnone” width=”300″] Youth Champs 4 mental health volunteers face the inevitable on suva’s pavement to raise funds for the working against the rise of Suicide rates in fiji[/caption]