Fiji’s mental health crisis: ‘A ticking time bomb’

Fijian psychotherapist Selina Kuruleca after her interview in Suva. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Fiji is in the midst of a mental health crisis and well-known psychotherapist Selina Kuruleca says “we haven’t seen the worst of it”.

During an interview with The Fiji Times, she was asked whether Fiji was a ticking time bomb due to the large number of suicides and attempted suicides and especially with about 60 per cent of the population under the age of 35.

“This is the generation that was born with gadgets in their hands. This is also the generation where a lot of education systems here in Fiji changed. This is the generation that met with COVID,” Ms Kuruleca said.

“The way they speak, the way they interact will become more and more distant, and of course the more distant we become, the more mental health issues that will arise.”

Ms Kuruleca said Fiji’s mental health crisis was evident in the number of suicides and attempted suicides and overcrowded aged care facilities.

“We’ve also become a young population that is uncaring and not compassionate – you can see it in our suicide numbers, you can see it in the long lines in our residential homes, you can see it in how people have left to go overseas and some of these people overseas are not looking after their families here.

“So yes, we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb.

“We have so many issues that could be addressed systematically and pragmatically if there was consultation, people sat down and said right, these are our hot spots. How do we know these are our hot spots, because we went out there and talked to the people – this is what they are wanting. We also have to ask them what they can do.

“Let’s meet halfway.”

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