The spiraling suicide scourge plaguing Guyana, especially in recent times, has forced the Government to engage all stakeholders to work towards a redress, and one such stakeholder willing to assist is our ‘big brother’ to the North, the United States of America.
United States Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, has committed his government’s assistance to the people of Guyana towards the fight against the suicide scourge.
According to the U.S. Ambassador, too many youths are taking their lives.
He said the United States will be looking at ways it could help out, since young people are the future of tomorrow and need to have their lives preserved.
To be more specific, he said the embassy will be looking at having experts on the subject come to Guyana to conduct workshops and outreach programmes, among other things.
The last reported suicide occurred last week when a Bartica man was found hanging by a rope from the ceiling in the unoccupied bottom-flat of his house.
Before him, several persons particularly in the Essequibo and Berbice regions were successful in their seeming ‘mad rush’ to end their lives.
Government, in a frantic attempt to address the issue, announced that the Public Health Ministry would be moving to implement a National Suicide Prevention Plan in an effort to tackle the growing scourge in Guyana.
During a meeting with Cabinet members and several stakeholders within the sector two Sundays ago, Public Health Minister Dr George Norton appealed for the involvement of all along with an action-oriented plan that would address the needs of the most vulnerable groups in an effort to curb the spike in suicide here.
The objective of the meeting was to appraise all key stakeholders on the magnitude and burden of suicide in Guyana; examine the proposed Suicide Prevention Plan and identify the critical elements for action; define roles, responsibilities and functions of all partners; develop a joint work plan and a monitoring and evaluation framework; prepare a draft budget and establish a technical task force to oversee the implementation of the initiative.
The National Suicide Prevention Plan, as presented to stakeholders, will provide guidance for the development of a joint work plan including a wide cross-section of partners.
The work plan will enable collaboration among Government Ministries; international partners; non-governmental organisations (NGOs); Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and other stakeholders.
The proposed activities in this multi-sectoral approach will be aligned to one of four strategic action areas: risk factors reduction, health promotion and suicide prevention; reducing access to the means of suicide; improving health systems’ response to suicidal behaviour and strengthening surveillance and research on suicide in Guyana.
Since the beginning of the year, close to 20 persons have either committed suicide or attempted to take their lives, a shocking trend which has been evoking grave concern among the populace.