Guam has one of the highest suicide rates per capita in the nation, according to Dr. Edward Santos.
He says the question now is how we can find our healing, adding that when looking at any suicide, there is a message being sent.
Since the pandemic, there have been 15 reported suicides on island. According to Dr. Santos he has not seen a positive change in suicide rates over the last 15 years and if anything it’s gotten worse.
“There’s a lot of context that we have to look at here. The people who have committed suicide, they are giving us some kind of message and part of our job is to find out what that message was in a nonjudgemental way,” Santos said.
Dr. Naputi, on the other hand, points out that in Chamorro culture suicide ideation is a response to disempowerment. An example of this is the story of the two lovers jumping off Two Lovers’ Point. She stressed the need to have the conversation despite it being difficult.
In terms of teen suicide, Dr. Lisa Baza says that it affects everyone, no matter where they come from or how they were raised…it is an impulsive act.
Baza says one of the biggest things that needs to happen is accepting your kids with unconditional positive regard and being inclusive.