Emergency meeting on suicide prevention convened – President says suicide rate disturbing

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Following another suicide tragedy, which occurred yesterday at East Bank Berbice, President David Granger today convened an emergency meeting with several of his ministers with a view to charting a course to address this scourge.

The outcome of the meeting is a plan of action, which will see Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Religious organisations and other Civil Society organisations being engaged to work together with Government on a centralised approach to suicide prevention.

President David Granger in discussions with Health Minister, Dr. George Norton, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Ms. Dawn Hastings at the Ministry of the Presidency
President Granger in discussions with Health Minister Dr. George Norton, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, and Minister within the Ministry of Communities Ms. Dawn Hastings at the Ministry of the Presidency

The President has indicated that he intends to have a hands-on approach to addressing this issue and will be looking to implement a national programme that has measurable outcomes.

A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency said Mr. Granger met with  Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton, Minister of Social Protection Ms. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Social Cohesion Ms. Amna Ally, Minister within the Ministry of Health Dr. Karen Cummings, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Ms. Dawn Hastings.

During the meeting, the President was also updated on the implementation of Guyana’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy, launched  by the Ministry of Public Health, last September, with a view to ramping up Government’s response to the on-going problem.  In addition, the President was provided with updates on work being done within the other subject Ministries.

Earlier in the day, the President told two local journalists, during the weekly recording of the television programme, ‘The Public Interest’, that much more needs to be done and he intends to bring together international organisations and civil society organisations to ensure that all of the factors related to suicide are identified and addressed.

- From L-R- Minister of Social Cohesion, Ms. Amna Ally, Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Ms. Dawn Hastings, President David Granger, Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, Health Minister, Dr. George Norton and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe at the meeting
From L-R- Minister Amna Ally, Minister Dawn Hastings, President David Granger, Minister Karen Cummings, Minister George Norton and Minister   Valerie Garrido-Lowe at the meeting

The Guyanese Head of State said, “I am concerned as President that Guyana has a higher rate of suicide than other countries. It is not as though there is an average around the world and we are just average. We are above average and that is disturbing.”

President Granger also issued a call to parents, guardians, teachers and church leaders to be more sensitive and understanding of the emotional matters that affect young people.

He said that, “the church needs to be more careful, the home needs to be more careful, peers need to be more careful.  It is a delicate period but the State cannot bear the full burden of counselling, the home is where these matters should be resolved.”

The President affirmed that his Administration intends to do all that is possible especially since many of the victims of this scourge are young people in whose hands the country’s future lies. He explained too, that the circumstances and conditions under which people live needs to be examined to understand the underlying factors responsible for the high suicide rate.

“I intend to find out why we have so many suicides and once we identify those factors, try to use Governmental action and try to get the efforts of civil society and households to put this scourge to an end. We are above normal and I want to find out if its social, if its cultural, or if its economic and bring an end to it… we know what the disease is, let’s find out what the cures are,” the Head of State was quoted as saying.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I must comend you Mr president it’s a step forward.It is evident that this is our culture.its a pandemic. The only way to reduce sucide is to change the culture . Let’s start in our school and every house

  2. Where is Dr. Bhiro Harrry (the Psychiatrist)? And where is your Psychologist? These are the two Specialists that need to head your Suicide Prevention/Management Team.
    Suicide is the result of when someone’s coping mechanism becomes compromised or overwhelmed. They feel it is wise to take their own life by whatever means of their choice. Many times it is a result of stress which can be attributed by exogenous factors, e.g., the lost of your house or a love one or in cases where someone is being deprived of their freedom, their rights or something that they adore or enjoy just to name a few or endogenous factors e.g chronic severe pain which can be associated with disease such as cancer or in the case of certain mental illnesses. Here is where the specialists comes in. As of in the case of exogenous factors the Psychologist will be the most suitable person by giving counselling while as of in the case of Mental Illnesses the Psychiatrist will be the one to manage.
    Dr. Norton as the M.O.H should have had both a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist also present at the meeting.
    A Suicidal Person or a person with Suicidal Ideation is A PERSON THAT NEEDS HELP and NOT A PERSON TO BE ARRESTED BY THE POLICE AND BE CHARGED AND SENT TO PRISON IF THEY ATTEMPTED SUICIDE ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF GUYANA.
    I do hope the experts convinced the Government to abandon the Suicide Laws Of Guyana immediately.

  3. As a strategy like this is long overdue. The Granger Administration must be commended for this BOLD initiative

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