Large numbers of Berbicians on Friday joined the Suicide Prevention Walk held in East Berbice, Region Six under the theme, ‘I choose life, I love my life, say yes to life’. The Walk was organised by the Humanitarian Mission of Guyana in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Social Protection, and the Region Six Regional Administration, and was aimed at raising awareness about the need for everyone to join the fight against suicide.
The Walk started at Dr. Tulsi Street, through Williamsburg into Rosehall and ended at the Port Mourant Community Centre. Among those participating were Ministers in the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings and Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), New Amsterdam Hospital, Colin Bynoe, Regional Chairman, David Armogan, Regional Executive Officer, Veersammy Ramayya and students from the Lower Corentyne area.
Minister Cummings pointed out that the march was very important, as it brought together individuals and organisations with an interest in suicide prevention and mobilised efforts to save lives.
The Minister sought to inform the participants about suicide and its impact on the country. She explained that the suicide profile in Guyana is well-known, with the majority of cases being among Indo Guyanese below age 35 from Regions Two and Six. There are also cases in Regions Three and Four and some in Region One.
The risk factor is more frequently due to acute emotional distress and depression, family dysfunction and abuse. The loss of a life by suicide affects the family, friends and loved ones, and is now becoming a burden on society, Minister Cummings said.
Guyana has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the world. According to reports, close to 200 Guyanese die by suicide yearly.
Worldwide, every year 800,000 people die from suicide; therefore, within every second 40 people kill themselves, Minister Ferguson said.
She also urged persons to assist in the battle to eradicate suicide, by offering words of encouragement to someone whom they know may want to commit the act. To the young people, she said, “Choose life, love life and save life.”