The Caribbean Voice (TCV) notes the disclosure by Caitlin Vieira, “that the helpline has 100 per cent success rate thus far in the sense that all callers have been helped with their situations, and have received weekly follow-up calls. They are all doing much better.”
However, one of the very major, recurring problems, in Guyana, is the lack of statistical data to enable analysis and evaluation. Thus, we would hope that Ms. Vieira is aware that her disclosure, about 100 per cent success rate, means absolutely nothing unless contextualized with data.
As far as Caribbean Voice is aware, there has been mention in the media of only one intervention. Ms Vieira and her group should present data that indicate the number of calls received, the range of issues called about, the number of interventions, particularly with respect to suicide, and that geographic range covered by these calls.
Release of such data would not only serve to shore up Ms. Vieira’s assertion about total success rate, but would also instill confidence in the public about the effectiveness of the hotline. This public confidence is much needed given that the police force is a far way from eliciting a significant degree of trust and confidence in the public at large.
Ms. Vieira also states, “Occasionally a call cannot be put on hold to answer another. In such a situation which can result in a call ringing out, the caller can try any of the other five hotline numbers, Facebook, twitter, WhatsApp, BBM or email.”
The Caribbean Voice strongly suggests that at least one additional landline number be added to ensure all calls are taken. After all, the issue is about saving lives. It is well known that anyone who is suicidal may well not make a second call if the first call dos not result in an immediate response. Consideration can also be given to transferring calls to other entities that may be willing to handle them, as an immediate voice at the end of the line is an absolute necessity for anyone seeking help.”We must point out that the interagency Facebook page is actually a ghost page with absolutely no information on the hotline or the work of the committee. Same deal also for the twitter page. TCV’s Bibi Ahamad, had spoken to Ms. Vieira about this in October, but the situation remains unchanged.
Meanwhile, The Caribbean Voice highly commends the police and those who man the hotline for the work they are doing.
“We hope that in time the hotline can be expanded into a national network, both with respect to taking calls as well as making referrals.
“We strongly suggest that the committee handling the hotline, reach out to all media throughout Guyana, and persuade them to publish or broadcast the hotline numbers/contact info at least once a week, if not more frequently, as a public service. And we suggest that overtures be made to GT&T and Digicel to persuade them to send out, to all their mobile phone customers, weekly messages with the hotlines and tips on suicide prevention, anti-abuse and related issues.
“We urge the committee to reach out to the business community and persuade the members to publicize the hotline and prevention messages on their outdoor billboards and electronic advertisements.”
The bottom line is not only that every little bit helps, but also that suicide prevention (and prevention of abuse, sex crimes and so on) is everybody’s business, The Caribbean Voice added.
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