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Working across Borders – supporting safer reporting of suicide in Samoa

By working across borders we can share solutions and innovation on common issues faced by Pasifika families and communities. 

Last month we were invited by the New Zealand High Commissioner, H.E Jackie Frizelle, in Samoa to support the Samoan media to safely report suicide. 

We were honoured to have the opportunity to support and also share any relevant information from FLO: Pasifika for Life. FLO is New Zealand’s first national Pasifika suicide prevention programme. It is evidence-based, and engages communities to ensure that Pasifika people know how to prevent suicide, and how to respond should it occur.

In particular, we were able to draw from our work on the Pasifika Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide in New Zealand that we co-designed with 23 Pasifika media organisations in New Zealand. You can download your copy and watch the whiteboard video to understand the process a bit more.

Le Va’s Dr Monique Faleafa, Saveatama Eroni Clarke and Denise Kingi-Uluave joined forces with Apulu Lance Polu, President of the Journalism Association of Samoa (JAWS) to put a training workshop together for the Samoa media. We were also supported by Samoa’s suicide awareness and prevention organisation, Fa’ataua le Ola (‘to value life’), led by CEO Papaliitele Carol Ah Chong.

Held in Apia, and opened by the New Zealand High Commissioner, Jackie Frizelle, 28 people attended from 16 organisations covering TV, radio and print media, as well as  from the police, health services, clergy and NGOs.

A story about the training aired on TV3 in Samoa covering our co-facilitated workshop. We would like to thank Joe Keil, Chairman and Proprietor of TV3 for voluntarily providing us with this footage.

Feedback and evaluations were very positive, with overall results showing a significant increase in knowledge and skills for reporting suicide safely. Perhaps, just as important, results also showed a significant increase in knowledge about the risk and protective factors for suicide and why it is so important to use the right language.

I’ve learnt many new things to improve how to write and cover suicide cases in the country and hope to attend more workshops to expand skills and knowledge on this issue.” 

I think this training about reporting on suicide cases is a mind opener, which not only teaches us about how sensitive this issue is about, I am a journalist who wants to write stories with messages (important) and I hope that this will enable not only me but others in writing about suicide in a right way not only to inform but to educate – thanks.” 

The Samoan media is highly motivated to write its own guidelines, and we are looking forward to supporting our families in Samoa in the future.

Fa’afetai tele lava 
Le Va aiga

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Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.