Guyana towering in suicide rates amongst Caribbean countries – WHO
- Globally suicide accounts for one death every 40 seconds
By Rabindra Rooplall
With the recent eruption of suicide cases in the media, members of a wide section of society are calling for the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities to develop and implement strategies aimed at reducing and preventing the incidence of suicide in the country.
Guyana has by far the highest suicide rate among countries in the Caribbean, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO.)
Guyana has also been listed in the top ten most suicidal countries, earning the ninth position which statistics reveal 45 suicides per 100,000 people. However, statistics show that of the more than 45 people who kill themselves, about one-fourth are women.
The Ministry of Health has also expressed concerns about the high incidence of suicide in the country, as statistics show Guyana is one of the leading causes of death among young people.
Suicide is recognised as a serious public health issue in Guyana with between 150 and 200 deaths annually. Statistics from 2003 to 2007 period show that there were 946 reported suicides in Guyana.
The statistics indicate that suicide is the leading cause of death among young people 15-24 and the third leading cause of death among persons aged 25-44.
Suicide rates are consistently highest in Region Six followed by Region Two.
Officials say ingestions of poisons and pesticides were the method used by most suicide victims. Hanging accounted for a significant number of deaths as well.
Statistics also show that Guyanese of East Indian descent were most likely to commit suicide.
According to International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), suicidal behaviour is a major public health problem across the world. Data from the WHO indicate that approximately one million people worldwide die by suicide each year.
The suicide organisation noted that this corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.
The IASP further revealed that suicide attempts and suicidal ideation are far more common; for example, the number of suicide attempts may be up to 20 times the number of deaths by suicide.
“But, suicide can be prevented. We ask that if you are despairing that you contact a crisis center. Many people have found that talking helps to alleviate painful suicidal thoughts and feelings,” IASP stated.
A recent study shows that support from friends and family may be the best protection from suicide and self-harm.