“Suicide is a difficult problem to solve” – President Granger


By Fareeza Haniff

suicide_speak_reach[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.

President of Guyana, David Granger
President of Guyana, David Granger

“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.



  1. Despair , hopelessness and a feeling of isolation can be contributing factors to this sad phenomenon rearing it’s ugly head in Guyana. So does lawless and a breakdown in society which ends up alienating those whom feel it most and find it difficult to cope. Finally let’s not forget family and those who proportion to be love ones who contribute directly with their behaviour, meddling and treatment towards those who feel there is no way out and take this devastating path….

  2. Suicide is usually as a result of long term depression, however that is not always the case. There are a small number of cases where persons kill themselves as a result of learning something devastating like having a terminal illness or in a fit of anger during a quarrel. In order to find effective solutions to the bigger problem of chronic depression we need to speak with persons, like myself, who have experienced and overcome depression, including thoughts of and attempts to commit suicide. And it’s not just the persons suffering from depression who need to be educated and helped. The thing is, a person suffering from depression may know more about it than most people who don’t. It is those persons who don’t know about depression and who don’t understand it that make the problem worse. Most people think it’s as easy as picking yourself up and thinking positively and being thankful for what you have. It is not! It takes more than that to overcome depression and thoughts of suicide. A lot more. While I struggled with depression and overwhelming sadness, in some persons eyes I had the perfect life; a job, a beautiful daughter, lots of positive energy, a big bright smile and people around me who loved me. Yet I felt this way and there are lots of people in the same boat. I would love to help others to come out of the darkness like I did.

  3. People committing suicide don’t call and tell people that they are going to take their lives. Yes as the head of the state you can tell that we need to do so much to save people committing suicide.

    The circumstances leading to suicide and preventing this epidemic is not by telling what we have to do. We need to work hard to find out what is really wrong with our people especially the young ones. Unemployment,financial insecurity, failed love affair, lack of education, hopelessness, split family and much more can lead to such extreme decision.

    Help is available but who is going to help??
    What kind of help is available??
    Ministers give statements and conduct seminars and that’s all that is happening. Nobody really cares about this problem and it is shameful that we are not able to do anything about suicide rate in Guyana

  4. Do you know what will help mr.president? Giving tht youths hope in a hopeless enviroment where they struggle to see a bright or fruitful future.


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