The Mibicuri Community Developers together with the Region Six Education Department, yesterday, hosted a Suicide Prevention March and Rally in recognizing World Suicide Prevention Day.
The march began from the Mibicuri Secondary School with students holding placards to march for the Awareness of Suicide in Guyana.
The event which attracted Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence; and Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings, sought to bring awareness to the rise in suicide in Guyana and worldwide.
Minister Lawrence said, “if I was to get on the floor and interact with students, I am quite certain that 90% of those students will say to us, the adults in this forum here today, that they do not trust us with their personal issues”.
“Unless we are willing to stop putting ourselves as adults on that pedestal of ‘we know it all’, there will be a generation gap”.
She said that there is currently a generation gap ,in today’s world parents are too busy and find very little time to interact with their children.
This, she stated, contributes to the generation gap that currently exists.
She noted that many times parents would take the matter to neighbours and friends rather than find the time to discuss it with their own children.
Minister Lawrence reiterated that the most important thing that is not given to a child or relative who might be going through a rough phase is “time”.
“Since when Guyanese have become so selfish? Since when?”. The Minister charged teachers to “stop discussing the children in the general public; stop talking about the child in front the entire class; stop speaking about the children as though they are not there, respect must be given, not only to elders but to each and everyone”.
Minister Lawrence pointed out that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Guyana holds the position of the highest suicide rate in the world.
The Minister said that Guyana is losing its most valuable resource, the human resource, which is crucial to the sustainability of the nation.
She said that the loss of lives within the community particularly Black Bush Polder which has the highest rate of suicide in the country, has impacted significantly on the social fabric of the community.
The Minister took the time to empathize with the families who have lost loved ones to suicide. She charged that it is imperative to “keep the awareness of the act of suicide, that we collaborate to devise strategies and implement methods to prevent the scourge from spreading its menacing tentacles throughout society.”
She noted that there must be an atmosphere of confidentiality for persons suffering from abuse, depression, low self esteem etc. which can lead to suicide.
Minister Lawrence noted that any legislation or security measures that need to be established to support the prevention of the Suicide Act will be endorsed by Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings, saw the alarming rate of suicide as a cause for concern.
She said that it is a concern for the Public Health Ministry since it affects everyone, pointing out that economic burdens amongst other issues are some of the effects of the scourge. A PAHO representative recently stated that “the suicide rate in Guyana reflects a chronic state of unhappiness and poor mental health that requires urgent action”.
The Minister said that the government is committed to joining the fight against suicide.
Ms. Verma Jagnauth, a teacher, and representative of Black Bush Polder pleaded with members of the Religious community, Health and Education sectors to play a more active role in doing what is necessary to put an end to suicide.
The Suicide Awareness March and Rally drew sponsorship from Republic Bank Ltd, Olendorff, Ansa McAl, Food for the Poor Inc, Poonai’s Pharmacy and Health Care, Black Bush Secondary School, GBI, Rose Hall Town Youth and Sport Club and the Region Six Educational Office.
It was held under the theme ‘Reach out and save lives.’
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