Psychiatrist, Dr Paul Orotaloa of the Acute Mental Health Unit, said that suicide cases in the Solomon Islands have increased to levels not seen before.

Although the exact statistics were not available, Dr Orotaloa says that "a very high number of most of these suicide, and attempted suicide cases, are among young people."

Dr. Orotaloa said that from what they could ascertain, it appears that most of these suicide cases occur either because of an argument or a misunderstanding, and others due to depression.

Dr. Orotaloa also encourages young people who suffer from depression to seek help. "One way of overcoming depression is by attending one of our awareness talks...or through a private consultation with an elder in the community or a church pastor."

According to research, suicide occurs in persons of all ages and backgrounds, but certain groups of people are at increased risk for suicide attempts. These include persons with a psychiatric illness and a past history of attempted suicide. Males are more likely than females to commit suicide, although attempts are more common among females.

Warning signs of suicide are varied. They may include:

-Talk of, or preoccupation with, suicide or death; threatening suicide; writing about death or suicide

-Signs of serious depression, including desperation; feelings of hopelessness;
feeling no sense of purpose; loss of interest in things one used to care about; trouble sleeping

-Withdrawal from family and friends

-Reckless behavior, increased risk-taking, irritability

-Making statements about life not being worth living, hating life, that the "world would be better off without me," and similar feelings

-Increased alcohol or drug use

-Feelings of rage or uncontrolled anger

Dr. Orotaloa has advised that if you suspect suicidal thoughts in yourself or anyone, seek professional help immediately at the National Referral Hospital.