Samoa is today joining the rest of the world to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day, in an effort to stop suicide.
Papali’i Carol Ah Chong, Executive Director of Fataua Le Ola, said suicide is something everyone has a role to play in eliminating and today is a very important day for the organisation.
“Suicide is no more a taboo word which is not mentioned within our society,” she said.
“Years ago it was new and very foreign to Samoa’s society to actually speak about the issue of suicide, it just happened but nobody was talking about it since it was a shame for the family, thus they suffered in silence.
“But thanks to the publicity of the organization, the awareness definitely has changed.”
The day begins at 6am with a Fa’ataua Le Ola (F.L.O) / Samoa Lifeline’s World Suicide Prevention Day (W.S.P.D) Parade starting from the Fire and Emergency Service Authority (F.E.S.A) compound on Beach Rd.
The Parade will proceed down Beach Road led by the Saleilua Poutasi Primary School Band and Marching Girls, all the way down to the Town Clock and around to the government building grounds.
It will end with a word of thanks from F.L.O. Chairman, Hans Joachim Keil and a closing prayer by F.L.O. Vice Chairman, Bishop Denny Faalogo.
At 9am, TV3 will host a special program of personal testimonies, addresses by prominent church and government leaders, individuals, video clips on suicide issues, awareness and fundraising events.
The public is also invited to the studio from 9am and 12 noon if they would like to deliver a message on suicide prevention “live” on television.
Tonight at 6pm, F.L.O.) will hold a candle light prayer service on the beach in front of Sheraton Aggie Grey's Hotel.
The essence of this vigil is twofold:
“F.L.O. hopes to convey to Samoa and to the World, a message of “life”, a message of “faith”, a message of “hope”, a message of “love” to anyone who is suffering alone in the darkness of despair, hopelessness and desperation.
“You may feel that you are alone and that no one cares, but we want to tell you that you are never alone, that there is always someone who is willing to listen and to help you, because God loves you and values your life, for you are the temple of His Holy Spirit. He will never forsake you”.
F.L.O. would like to commemorate part of this service to the memory of those whose lives were tragically taken by suicide. Orange and yellow balloons will be released into the sky, signifying the spirit of these loved ones being released and set free.
At 8pm, F.L.O. is asking everyone in Samoa to say a prayer and light a candle to show support for suicide prevention, to remember a loved one lost to suicide and for the survivors of suicide.
“We will be lighting our candles on the beach and they will be placed on the water to float as beacons of light, signifying the light of Christ within each of us, a light that we are asked to illumine the whole world with and not to hide under a bushel or snuff out by suicide. Everyone is welcome!”
Founded in 2000, F.L.O. advocates for a suicide free Samoa by raising awareness about suicide prevention.