ASG begins new Suicide Awareness push
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government-wide Suicide Awareness Training is set to open today, and Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga has called on cabinet members for their attendance at Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium starting at 8a.m.
“The devastating impact of suicide has once again struck our Territory,” wrote Lemanu in a Sept. 15 memorandum to cabinet directors. “As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to assume a proactive stance in the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies aimed at preventing tragic loss of life.”
“Our ultimate objective is to successfully reduce the incidence of suicide by employing a government-wide suicide awareness training that addresses risks factors and action steps to respond to suicide,” the governor explained.
“Our goal is likely to be achieved if we actively engage in efforts for suicide prevention. Thus, it starts with us,” he pointed out.
On behalf of Lt. Gov. Talauega E. V. Ale, the governor asked cabinet members for all “to join forces to address this crucial issue and work towards creating a safer community for all.”
“Your presence will serve as a strong indication to the community that we are committed and dedicated to addressing this issue with the utmost seriousness,” the governor told cabinet members.
Last Thursday afternoon, a cabinet meeting was held at the Governor’s Office conference room regarding the training.
Data on the number of suicide cases for 2022 were not available at press time, but is expected to be shared during the training along with other pertinent information.
Data reported by LBJ Tropical Medical Center’s Health Information Management Department on the “Cause of death” — and included in the American Samoa Statistical 2021 Yearbook — shows 7 cases of suicide in 2021. The highest number of suicide cases reported by LBJ between 2021 and 2010 was eleven cases.
The Health Department along with ASG launched in 2021 the “988 Helpline”, which is the American Samoa Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services Helpline.
Samoana High School students and staff showed up last Friday morning for the school’s “wave, raising awareness for suicide prevention!” They were there as classroom presentations by DoH officials were conducted as part of the prevention program.
The banners carried by the students included the message: “We are here to help, Call 988 to reach out.”
This photo posted on the Samoana Student Life Facebook page shows students and staff participating in their wave last Friday morning on “raising awareness for suicide prevention.” “Thank you American Samoa for showing your support, and many, many thanks to the DOH presenters, who went out of their way to educate our students regarding this matter,” according to the message posted with several photos from the wave and classroom presentations. This event follows a presentation last Thursday afternoon at a cabinet meeting on the government-wide Suicide Awareness Training, set to begin today at the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium. [photo: Samoana Student Life Facebook]