Palau community is at a very low level of readiness and awareness on the issue of self-harm or suicide. Based on the 2020 Palau Youth Survey, shows that the Palau community is at level 2 level of readiness, described as denial/resistance out of possible 9 levels, with 9 being the highest level of readiness.  The assessment measures readiness based on knowledge, awareness, and preparedness of the community on 5 dimensions including Community Knowledge of Efforts, Leadership, Community Climate, Community Knowledge of the Issue, and Resources.

A report provided to the Senate Health Committee by the Ministry of Health and Human Services provided information and statistics on the self-harm(suicide) issue to help inform policy makers on their decision-making.  It also provided the Committee what resources are available, activities undertaken and recommendations on way forward.

Statistics over a 10 year period on self-harm showed a declining trend in the number of self-harm incidents from 2011 to 2021.  A total of 41 deaths caused by self-harm were committed by males with 32% in ages between 15 to 25 and 45 to 64 and 27% for those ages 25-44.

The 2020 Youth Survey also showed a strong correlation between substance use and attempted self-harm.  The results also show that 36% of females surveyed seriously considered suicide compared to 24% of males who seriously consider it.  Survey also revealed different age groups’ responses to self-harm and factors that influence the actions of young people.

Among the 12 recommendations submitted to address community readiness and preparedness include “Consider responsible reporting and censorship of mass media and sensationalism of suicide, which perpetuates copycat suicide, and promote suicide clusters.”

The information was requested by Senator Dr. Steven Kuartei, Chairman of the Senate Health Committee.

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