By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyana has seen its fair share of suicides with the country being labelled with the highest suicide rate in the world and while there is no long term plan currently in place to tackle the issue, President David Granger believes that an active hotline may help.
During his appearance on ‘The Public Interest’ in which iNews participated, the President admitted that “suicide is a very difficult problem to solve and what I see happening in Guyana is something called the ‘Werther effect.’
The ‘Werther effect’ basically means a ‘copycat effect’ and President Granger is of the view that a national study is needed in order to effectively tackle the issue.
“So we don’t really know why people kill themselves because some of the people are quite comfortable; when you look at their life, there is a house, maybe there is a car and maybe the person is employed. It’s not as though the person is a desperado,” the President said.
He noted that some people do not have the necessary tools to deal with whatever problem they are faced with.
“These are middle to lower class people and probably they are faced with some kind of situation and they don’t have the intellectual, moral or religious tools to deal with this issue so we have to look at the more careful analysis.”
According to the President, the government does not have any clue at the moment that may guide them in the direction of preventing suicides.
“We do not have those tools. We are trying to accumulate evidence,” the President said.
He noted that studying suicide is a work in progress, while pointing out that even parents are surprised when their child commits such a drastic act.
“Sometimes the first resort is poison and if you remove poison, they jump off the Demerara Harbour Bridge. It is right now, what I would call an epidemic because not only is there a large number of persons who succeed, there are a lot of people who try but do not succeed and sometimes deaths occur and it is not recorded out of shame or embarrassment; they are not recorded as suicides.”
The President believes that it is possible for Guyana to remove the causes of suicidal behaviour and try to counsel young people in particular.
“It is a worrying factor, it does affect our young people and as I always say, happy people do not kill themselves.”
Only recently, prominent human rights activist, Zenita Nicholson killed herself by consuming ten carbon tablets. Shortly after, two teenagers were found dead on the Kingston foreshore after consuming poison.
Also, police officer, Richard MacBeth attempted to take his own life while a father hanged himself in a Georgetown Police Outpost after threatening to kill two of his children.