By Tracey Khan Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Caribbean Voice Inc.- an International Non-profit Caribbean Diaspora Community based Organization today rolled out its plans and programmes to tackle the growing social problem of suicide that is troubling the country.
This move coincides with ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ which is being observed today under the theme: “Suicide Prevention one connected World.”
During a media conference at the Cara Lodge, the Board officially launched its programme through which it intends to tackle this problem head on and reduce the suicide rate.
Guyanese Activist, Bibi Ahamad outlined the organization’s plans which includes countrywide workshops. The organization’s first workshop will be held in October at Black Bush Polder, Berbice followed by one in Essequibo.
Meanwhile, Dr. Faith Harding emphasized that “this problem is not an ethnic problem, it maybe cultural it may have something to do with our own background.” She said it has to be dealt with from the grass root level; as such the Body is taking a collaborative stance to pool all resources together to build a strong network that can stretch its operations throughout the country.
Dr. Harding is also of the view that Government is not doing enough to tackle this problem which is plaguing the society and has seen many others taking their lives unnecessarily.
“For Guyana it is even more important because we are citied as the country that has the worst record for suicide, we have the highest suicide rate in the world,” Harding said.
Another member and the Caribbean American Domestic Violence Awareness (CADVA) Representative Dianne Madray said they are a supporting partner with Caribbean Voice Inc. in this initiative that will help.
She noted it is important to note the the impact suicide has on persons who have lost their loves to this mental health disorder. “we need to begin to look at part of the prevention mechanism as way of moving forward and helping those survivors so it’s not just the individuals who commit suicide but it’s the family members who are involved…to create a change we need to have participation.”
Another member of the Board, Dr. Dawn Stewart expressed alarm at the suicide rate and suicide related deaths in the country and stressed that this problem is everybody’s business and should be looked at by all stakeholders.
Dr. Stewart who is the owner of Lyken’s Funeral Parlor said that based on a survey from 2008 to now approximately 300 persons committed suicide that came into the parlor between the age range of 15 to 35 and majority of those persons were male.
“The majority of the young people that came in that committed suicide for many reasons we found a link between alcoholism and depression in suicide in Guyana, in 90 percent of those cases there was alcohol related issues before.”
In this regard she called for better laws against the selling of alcohol to under age children, “what I hope we will see is laws that will prevent the distribution of alcohol to young people, strict laws and punishment for persons that sell alcohol to young people…so what we do know about suicide and the young brain is its not fully developed so the younger you start drinking alcohol the more complicated it becomes for your body, you are not very rational in making decisions.”
The members also highlighted the fact that this fight against suicide is not a Government fight but one that needs the input of all stakeholders to truly effect change. However, Government was highlighted as the biggest stakeholder in this regard.