“Ng chelbengeled el rokui – it’s our responsibility,” expressed Vice President and Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau-Senior of the growing social issues leading to self-harm, especially among Palauan males.

This weekend, another young man, a 17-year-old high school graduate died, due to self-harm.  This would be the fourth such incident of self-harm in the first half of this year 2022. 

Discussing solutions, it was revealed that various ministries and agencies have different services addressing related social problems such as victims’ support programs.

Minister Gaafer Uherbelau of the Ministry of Health said that there are programs within the Ministry of Health that address such problems such as a hotline but he said that more cooperation between agencies and ministries that offer support and assistance must take place to successfully address the problem.

Unfortunately, he said, those support mechanisms currently in place are only triggered after the problem has occurred.  “It is those who do not call the hotline, who are not in the system, that are not being helped.”

Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice and others have programs designed to assist. Ministry of Justice OneLeep Summer Program targets the youth. Another such program is led by the judicial working group.

A judicial working group, working with the Family Protection Act, conducting community outreach is talking to youth about Emotional Quotient (EQ) and how to increase EQ in order to better manage emotions and improve their outlook on life.

Vice President Senior, commending the Traditional Chiefs who raised the issue in their recent conference, said that they should also take the lead, specifically working with Palauan men.  Senior urged for more personal communication among families, clans, and communities about issues and problems that could lead to self-harm.  “Ng chelbengeled el rokui – it is our responsibility, all of us.” 

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