[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, along with Minster within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, on September 10, joined with the Mibicuri Community Developers (MCD), to observe World Suicide Prevention Day 2015.
Speaking at a forum at the Black Bush Polder Secondary School, East Berbice, Minister Lawrence stressed the importance of ‘family time’ in the prevention of this scourge.
She said, “More time needs to be shared among families. Children need to be heard, listened to, not shut out.” She noted that it is a part of the Guyanese culture for parents to make decisions and give orders to their children without listening to what the child may have to say.
The Minister also addressed the role of teachers, emphasising that there is need for more professionalism.
“Teachers need to stop discussing children in the public. Stop forming cliques and discussing children as though they are not there, stop discussing the children in front of the class,” Lawrence chided.
According to the Minister, Guyana is losing its most valuable resource, the human resource. She called for more interactions, more counselors and recreational facilities in communities.
Minister Lawrence also outlined a plan to educate community members who will eventually be able to assist those struggling around them.
Verma Jadunath, representative of the MCD, pointed out that Region Six (6) is known as the “suicide nest,” since it is the largest contributor to the suicide rate in the country.
She added that information received from the hospital showed that within the past eight months and 10 days, there have been 37 suicide attempts of which two were successful.
According to her, a survey conducted by the foundation in 2012, shows that there is no specific reason for these actions; however non – approval of relationships and easy access to chemicals were the two most common factors leading to suicide.
In addition, Regional Chairman David Armogan highlighted that, “Black Bush Polder is called the Suicide Belt of Guyana.”
Noting that suicide is a mental health problem, he pointed out that according to the Pan American Health Organisation (PHAO), 33-93 % of the people in Latin America suffer from a mental health problem.
This he added is also a serious problem in Region Six (6) and there is only one psychologist in the entire region. The day’s activities were held under the theme, “Reaching out and Saving Lives.”
Tokens were handed out to participants along with trophies to six schools for participating in a poem competition. [Extracted and modified from GINA]