Doctor says suicide rates have gotten worse

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Dr. Edward Santos

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.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.