Adolescent suicide in the federated states of Micronesia: A literature review

For nearly fifty years, Francis X. Hezel and Donald H. Rubinstein have been publishing essays on the topic of adolescent suicide in the Federated States of Micronesia, particularly among males in Truk/Chuuk. This paper examines the core body of this literature to chronicle the development of a theory on the topic of Micronesian adolescent suicide […]

Suicide and suicide attempts in the Pacific Islands: A systematic literature review

Background The Pacific Islands have some of the highest rates of suicide in the Western Pacific region. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature on suicidal behaviour in the Pacific Islands. Methods A comprehensive search of Web of Science, PubMed, PsycINFO, Cochrane, CINAHL and Embase databases was conducted for all articles […]

The Evolution of Epidemic Suicide on Guam: Context and Contagion

30 years of suicide rates for Guam were analyzed by age, gender, period, & cohort. Youth suicide increased rapidly in the 1990s; certain cohorts have higher rates. 4 explanatory factors are discussed, including ecological factors & migration from the Federated States of Micronesia. Direct & indirect suicide contagion followed the suicide of a respected politician, […]

Suicide in Micronesia: a Systematic Review

This study explores suicide in Micronesia & provides recommendations for further research & prevention programs. All available studies were reviewed. Since the late 1960s, the number of suicides throughout Micronesia has risen sharply. Victims are generally young males between 15-24-years of age. The most common scenario leading to suicide is an incident of intergenerational conflict. […]

Identifying Risk Factors for Suicide

In this editorial, the author briefly reviews articles published in the November & December 2007 issues of this journal on various aspects of suicide & suicidal behaviours. (1 ref.)

Suicide in the Pacific – a Mental Health Epidemic

In this editorial, the author discusses the magnitude of suicide in the Western Pacific region. He welcomes increased awareness, asserting intellectual dialogue & debate is necessary if long-term differences in suicide & suicidal behaviours are to be made. Contact us for a copy of this article, or view online at

Globalisation and the Mental Health of Youth in Pacific Island Societies

This article examines the effects of globalisation on the mental health of youth in the Pacific Islands, particularly as it affects suicide rates, substance abuse, & the developmental of mental illness. Some competing explanations for these outcomes are examined. (27 refs.)

A Profile of Suicide on Guam

Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death on Guam & is widely recognized as a significant public health issue. This profile represents the initial effort to strengthen data collection, surveillance, & analysis of the prevalence & attributes of suicide on Guam. Information is provided on the annual suicide rate, 2000-2007, & how the suicide […]

The Stigma of Suicide: a Report Prepared for the I Pinangon – the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at the University of Guam

This paper explores the complex nature of stigma as it relates to suicide. Topics of discussion include: suicide cross culturally; perceptions of suicide; stigma & mental illness; enacted versus felt stigma; stigma & suicide on Guam; & stigma & cultural themes.

Polynesia and Micronesia in Psychiatric Perspective


Asian/Pacific Islander Adolescent Sexual Orientation and Suicide Risk in Guam

The effects of same-sex orientation on suicide risks for Asian/Pacific Islander adolescents in Guam were examined. A probability sample & logistic regression analyis was used to identify suicide risk factors. Same-sex orientation was associated with a greater risk of suicide attempt, especially for boys. Adolescents who reported suffering physical abuse in the context of a […]

What can we do to Prevent Suicide?

The author offers some suggestions, based on his work in Micronesia, for suicide prevention in this area: educating communities on what changes to traditional family structures mean for parents; creating new mechanisms for support within the family network; improving parent-child relationships; de-romanticizing suicide so it does not appear to be heroic or honourable; community development, […]

Pacific Island Suicide in Comparative Perspective

Youth Suicide and Social Change in Micronesia

Suicide (IN: World Mental Health: Problems and Priorities in Low-Income Countries by R Desjarlais, L Eisenberg, B Good & A Kleinman)

Global trends in suicide rates are discussed. Suicide rates among youth & the elderly & gender differences are compared. Suicide in the South Pacific, Sri Lanka, & India is examined in greater detail. Some reasons for suicide are discussed, with emphasis on psychopathology & social factors. The social meanings of suicide in various cultures & […]

Suicide in Micronesia: the 1920s and 1930s

The author presents data on suicide in Micronesia during the 1920s & 1930s when the area was governed by Japan. Japanese records reflect 241 suicides from 1922-1939. The principal cause of suicide, for both the indigenous population & the Japanese, was melancholy or weariness with life. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the […]

Suicide in Different Ages From a Cross-Cultural Perspective (IN: Life Span Perspectives of Suicide: Time-Lines in the Suicide Process, ed. by A A Leenaars)

This article studies suicide from an anthropological approach. The author asserts each culture has rules for suicide, such as when it is acceptable, & how survivors of the death of a loved one should react. To illustrate, she describes adolescent suicide in the Pacific region of Melanesia, & the ritual killing of widows following the […]

Trukese Suicide

The author discusses findings from a review of recent (1971-83) suicides recorded in Truk. Circumstances of death are examined; findings are use of alcohol, trivial disagreements or quarrels, disruption of interpersonal relationships & impulsivity. Anger is cited as a frequent motive, with shame part of a secondary pattern. Psychotic suicides, clustering & contagion are briefly […]

Suicide in Micronesia

A general picture of suicide in areas that make up Micronesia is presented: these areas include Belau, Yap, Truk, Ponape, Kosrae, & the Marshall Islands. The author states that the rate of suicide has been increasing since 1960 but decreasing over the past 4 years, suggesting a one-generation cohort effect; suicides are highly patterned culturally, […]

Truk Suicide Epidemic & Social Change