Pesticide Control Bill touted as workshop on suicide/mental health commences

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Dr Karen Cummings, Junior Health Minister

By Jomo Paul

Dr Karen Cummings, Junior Health Minister
Dr Karen Cummings, Junior Health Minister

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Junior Health Minister Dr Karen Cummings has promulgated the tabling of Pesticide Control Bill in the National Assembly to combat the high incidents of suicide across the country.

Dr Cummings, speaking at a workshop on mental illness and suicide on Monday, noted that one of the measures that would be implemented by the APNU+AFC Government to combat suicide would be some restraints on the sale of pesticides.

Research conducted locally has shown that suicide by hanging and consuming poisonous substances, such as common pesticides, were the two major mediums utilized by suicide victims.

The Junior Health Minister pointed out that there is need for more stringent monitoring of the pesticides sector and indicated that access restriction is something that will be explored by the current government.

According to Dr Cummings, the Pesticides Act will “regulate” the sector and the dynamics for persons having pesticides in their homes.

“We won’t be silent, this APNU+AFC government will not dismiss the issue,” said Dr Cummings.

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A section of the attendees

She noted that in tackling mental health and suicide there would have to be a well-rounded approach since the issue is a wide reaching one with a host of contributory factors.

“Any half baked approach will not solve the problem,” the Minister lamented adding “we need to move from our offices and go into the streets.”

The workshop was aimed at sensitizing social workers and other persons in the field of the importance of keeping a keen eye for signs of a mental health issues.

“We should have social workers at each health center so we can really go to the base,” stated the Minister.

Statistics indicate that, in 2013, there were some 129 reports of suicide with the Berbice area amassing the highest amount of reports at 42, most of whom were East Indians. Ninety of the 129 reports were relative to male victims.

The same trend continued in 2014, although there was a stark decline in the amount of suicide reports. There were 97 suicides and again most of the reports involved male victims with 68 of the reports being persons of East Indian descent.

For the first six months of 2015, the Guyana Police Force recorded some 46 reports of suicide, 29 of which emanated from the Berbice area.

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