Oct 19, 2014 News
As she pointed out the fact that Guyana has the highest global rate of suicide which is four times the global average,
Alliance For Change (AFC), Member of Parliament, Cathy Hughes identified the need for an urgent national think-tank to address this crucial issue.
Hughes, at AFC’s most recent press conference held at Georgetown Club, Camp Street, said that there is no indication of efforts by government to reverse the worrying trend of suicide and suicidal activities in Guyana.
The Member of Parliament told media operatives that it is clear to her that the young people in Guyana are not being taught the skills needed to deal with many of life’s challenges.
To support her conclusion, she pointed to the recent incident of a 16-year-old from the West Coast of Demerara.
The teen, Alex Persaud, who was a fifth form student of the West Coast Demerara “Swami” school committed suicide a day before his parents were expected to meet with the principal over his expulsion. Persaud of 18 Stewartville, West Coast Demerara bought the gramoxone herbicide at a shop nearby his home, ingested the substance and succumbed in hospital a few days after.
The young man was expelled reportedly after he was found to have been having a questionable relationship with an 18-year-old Information Technology teacher. The female teacher was fired because of the “friendship”.
Hughes, during the AFC press conference, also pointed out that there are the numerous incidents of murder/suicide “where again, a lot of our young people, experiencing difficulties in their relationships, resort to killing their partner then taking their own lives.”
The Parliamentarian declared that Guyana’s human resource is the country’s most valuable asset and the suicide rate clearly indicates that Guyanese, mostly the young, do not have the necessary skills to face life challenges.
She said, “The global statistics show clearly that suicide in Guyana has reached epidemic level and the Alliance For Change is urging that as a matter of priority, a team of experts be pulled together to analyse the situation so that a comprehensive strategy to address the situation can be implemented.”
Hughes sought to make it clear that addressing the levels of suicidal activities in Guyana is not and shouldn’t be treated as a political issue or one confined to a particular ethnic group.
She said that the impact of suicide and suicidal activities will affect Guyana as a nation and questioned “How can we speak of growth and development when our people are ill equipped to face life challenges.”
The Member of Parliament said that more attention needs to be placed specifically on the mental health and wellbeing of our people.
She recommended that there be centres or some mechanism where adolescents are taught life skills, where persons who experience emotional trauma can go for help.
“Our teachers, sports coaches, religious leaders and others must be taught to recognise early signs suicidal tendencies. The problem of suicide cannot be left unattended,” said Hughes. (Abena Rockcliffe)
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