Since January 1, only two people in the Marshall Islands died by committing suicide, according to latest reports from Ministry of Health and Human Services, which encompasses both Mental Health Divisions in Majuro and Ebeye and the Outer Islands Health Care Services (formerly known as Outer Islands Dispensary System).
The first case this year happened in Mieco village in Uliga in January when 19-year old Tang Tang Tikitebora was found dead by hanging. The 19-year old Kiribati national was said to have resided in Rairok but often visited family members in the densely populated Kiribati town in Mieco.
The second incident took place last Friday in Laura, where health officials said they responded to a Laura home to find an unconscious 46-year old Relly Kabua with a noose on his neck.
Relly was employed at the Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Utility.
To the average person, the low count in suicide is reassuring but those who spend their 9-5 hours working around suicide cases view it like the calm before the storm: “I’ve seen similar trends,” Suicide Prevention Lead and Counselor Henry Otuafi told the Journal. “When low numbers of suicide cases occur in the beginning of the year, it usually means at least two or three cases in the summer time,” Henry said.
Henry’s data shows three foiled suicide incidents happened since the beginning of the year. These involved a 20-year old female, a 19-year old male and a 25-year old male attempting to commit suicide so far this year.
Rosie Bobo who oversees suicide cases in Ebeye told the Journal the last complete suicide happened in 2017 and there has been one suicide attempt this year from a male.
The Mental Health Division in Majuro has been collaborating with the College of Marshall Islands’ Peer to Peer Counselors and Kumit Bobrae counselors in raising awareness on suicide prevention, such was a visit last week to CMI from Henry and his colleagues.
Read more about this in the March 30, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.