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Community Guidance Center shares data on suicides

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THE CNMI recorded 44 cases of suicide from 2015 to 2019 based on Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and Vital Statistics Office data.

Of this number, 34 occurred on Saipan and five each on Rota and Tinian.

These were among the data shared by Reyna Saures, Community Guidance Center director, and Mia Jones, suicide prevention specialist, with the Rotary Club of Saipan on Tuesday  at Hyatt Regency.

Of the total cases, 31 involved individuals who were 25 years old and above, and 13 cases were committed by individuals who were 10 to 24 years old. Thirty-three were males and 11 were females.

"The reason why the number of males is a lot higher is that males turn to more aggressive and lethal means, which is why they complete suicide more than females," Jones said.

Based on the data, Chamorro topped the list of completed suicides with 26 cases; Chinese, three; Chuukese, six; Filipino, three; dual ethnicity, one; Korean, two; Kosraean, one; and Palauan, one.

 

Reyna Saures, Community Guidance Center director, and Mia Jones, suicide prevention specialist, talk about suicide cases in the CNMI during the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency. Also in the photo are club president Sonya Dancoe, president-elect Sean Ficke, club secretary Irene Holl, and club vice president Wendell Posadas. Photo by Junhan B. Todino

Saures said there is no specific cause of suicide, but one of the biggest reasons, especially among the youth, to have suicidal thoughts is family conflict.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be a relationship like a boyfriend or girlfriend; it could also be a relationship with their parent," Saures said.

Jones, in an interview, said the biggest challenge is getting parents to communicate better with their children.

"That communication barrier is what's really hindering relationships," she said. "So, kids are looking for other outlets because they can't speak to their parents about what they're feeling or what they're thinking."

She said before the Covid-19 pandemic, her office conducted many outreach programs to make people aware of the importance of talking and opening up their feelings with the people around them.

In the CNMI, the number of suicide attempts has decreased when the Covid-19 pandemic started, Jones said.

“The families are a lot happier, spending time at home. It builds a stronger family bond, and the children can communicate better with their parents,” she added.

Jones said the Community Guidance Center provides intervention services for youth and young adults with families; grief recovery; suicide prevention counseling services; and evidence-based curriculum training.

For more information, go to CGC’s Facebook page.

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