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Eastern Michigan University

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

Fiji: Multiculturalism and Social Change

Abstract

In a culture that is extremely religious, traditional and conservative, one may not first assume that suicide is one of Fiji’s leading causes of death amongst its youth population. However, the number of suicides today is one of the highest in the world and is rising at alarming rates. This study was designed to understand the underlying pressures that directly affect Indo-Fijian and indigenous Fijian youths, both the majority race in Fiji. The study focuses mainly on interviews conducted in the urban area of Suva but includes references to the rural areas, where a large number of suicides occur. The study found that youth suicide in Fiji is linked with the high pressures that both genders of Indo-Fijian and Fijians feel to perform and uphold tradition in society, coupled with Fiji’s mental healthcare which is hard-pressed for support and funding. Despite the negative cultural stigma attached to suicide in religion and other aspects of life, the pressures to succeed, academically and financially, to maintain family tradition and honor, misunderstanding of youth culture and lack of proper mental health care are intense and lead today’s youth of Fiji to believe that there is no other way out but suicide.

Disciplines

Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Psychology

 

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