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DoH is reaching out to raise awareness and help prevent suicide

DOH staff at suicide prevention training

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — “Taking time to educate and train staff in suicide and crisis prevention. Higher numbers during COVID-19 lockdown,” said the photo caption on this and four other photos posted on the Health Department’s Facebook page of a department training held last Friday.

Speaking on KVZK-TV on Friday evening, DoH official Si’itia Soliai Lemusu explained that following reports in the past weeks of death by suicide involving teens and young adults, DoH - on behalf of director Motusa Tuileama Nua — have “come together with our stakeholder partners to try and figure out the different issues that our youth today are facing.”

“But most importantly, is our quick response to what is going on, just as if it is an outbreak on its own, [similar] to COVID-19,” she explained and noted that staff training on Thursday and Friday was the result of “an emergency meeting to evaluate these circumstances and also come up with some strategic activities... to reach out to our youth, teenagers, and young adults, and anyone that has some suicidal thoughts, or who may have some self-harm thoughts, that there are people who care about them, who love them and we want to let them know, that they are brave” and there are professionals on island to help them in their time of need.

“So this training followed a strategic planning meeting in terms of creating a 30-to-60 day island-wide campaign for suicide awareness and prevention. And also talks about long-term strategic planning,” she said, noting that the training also focused on staff who will be answering the suicide prevention line. To access the hotline call — “220” or 699-4211.