Suicides are perhaps the most unexplained in today’s world. A recent study showed that in Guyana suicides are more prevalent in the agricultural communities. One reason offered was the fact that the victim has ready access to the various weedicides and insecticides.
But even before weedicides and insecticides became so prevalent, the people in the rural communities had access to rope, that length of hemp that is used most in the cattle industry. There is also a lot of rope used in the fishing industry but one does not hear about hangings among fishermen.
Eevery study concluded that people of Indian ancestry were more prone to committing suicide but this was not exclusively the case. The Ministry of Health is now expressing concern because of the prevalence. Very young people are now among the victims. The young commit the act because they want to hurt parents and relatives. Such is their anger that they do not even weigh the consequences.
We have had cases of young people killing themselves because the parent refused to accede to a request, be that request for money or some article of fashion. We have had the case of a girl killing herself because her mother refused to buy a pair of brand name footwear.
And if that is not bad enough, we have had the numerous alcoholics who kill themselves in a fit of pique. Far too often we see the police and press reports of a drunken man going home and losing his cool either because his mother cooked something that he did not like or because she did not give him money to feed some habit or the other.
We have had, too, suicides resulting from the failure of people to deal with some shocking results. We have had school children who through disappointment at one external examination or the other, simply committed suicide. The expert would conclude that the parents actually placed too much pressure on the child who simply could not live up to parental expectations.
Then there have been those who were diagnosed with some ailment or the other. The one ailment that precipitated numerous suicides was HIV/AIDS. The mere thought of the stigma and the discrimination drove many people over the edge.
But those things apart, we must now cope with another rash of suicide. This case is more than the individual killing himself; he or she targets children. Parents love their children so much that they would not wish any harm on them. Yet we now have a group that would actually kill their children.
Not that this is a new phenomenon. Nearly two decades ago we had the mother who fed poison to her two children. The then Head of State immediately pronounced that he would not impose the death penalty on this woman, even if the court found her guilty of murder.
Then we had the father who hacked his three children to death. He is still awaiting his day in court. Just a fortnight ago there was the father who locked his children in a house and set the building alight. The mother and three of her children perished. One survived. And as if to answer the wishes of a vast section of the Guyanese society the architect of the blaze died in the Georgetown Public Hospital on Friday.
Now we must deal with the young mother—a mere twenty-one-year-old —who fed poison to her two young children and who then took a dose. She is still alive; the children are not.
The Ministry of Health has been talking a lot about training family members to recognize potential suicides. However, this does not seem to be working. We are still to see a meaningful training session. More so, we are still to see a family member coming forward to tell the authorities that he or she believes that a potential suicide is among the family.
And as for training, those we train as psychiatric nurses simply pack their bags and leave at the end of the training. And to compound the issue, we do not have many psychiatrists.
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