Apr 07, 2016 News
PAHO/WHO Country Representative Dr. William Adu-Krow, on Wednesday, questioned Guyana’s high suicide rate. On average the Caribbean and Latin America have a suicide rate of 6.1 per every 100,000 persons. Guyana’s is pegged at 44.2.
Adu-Krow, who was speaking at a suicide prevention forum at Arthur Chung Convention Centre in Liliendaal, said globally the standardized suicide rate is 11.4 per every 100,000 persons. He queried why Guyana’s rate was higher.
Guyana has the highest suicide rate in world. The country’s ranking comes even though there was an 8.5% drop in the country’s suicide rate between 2000 and 2012. This suggests that local efforts to combat suicide have simply not kept up with those of other countries.
In January, there were over 15 cases of suicide and attempted suicide. In many instances, suicide cases are unreported.
Even though, he said, Guyana was able to reduce its rate in 2000 by 8.5 % the figures are not being reflected because the rates are already too high. However, he said PAHO lauds the Ministry’s effort to host a stakeholder’s suicide prevention forum to discuss the way forward in ending the scourge.
Adu-Krow stated that suicide in Guyana is a pressing issue that should involve participation from all stakeholders. He noted that since Guyana has a National Mental Health Action Plan Strategy, the country needs to know how to implement those plans.
“…We need to know who is doing what and where they are doing it and how they are doing it.”
He also said there should be more research on the causes of suicide. Suicide, he said, is an issue that the PAHO feels strongly about since it affects everyone—the young and the elderly. He said that it is common knowledge that the most prevalent group of persons who commit suicide are between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The highest incidences are among the elderly—persons between the ages of 50 and 69.
The representative noted, further, that once the Republic of China was the capital for suicide since they were unable to control the situation but they began to deal with the issue vigorously and removed themselves from the top. He said the same can be said for Guyana.
At the forum stakeholders and ministry officials discussed suicide risk factors reduction, health promotion and prevention; reduced access to the means of suicide, health systems response to suicide, and surveillance and research.
Reduce attempts by 20%
Public Health Minister, George Norton, said that given the present state of the issue, it was crucial that a holistic approach, involving all stakeholders and partners of the ministry, be utilized to curb it. He vowed that the ministry will work vigorously to correct the issue.
It will work to not only reduce the rate of suicide but also the rate of suicide attempts by 20%. He added that suicide was having a ripple effect in the indigenous communities, where incidences of suicide are slowly rising.
Recently, a 24-hour suicide hotline has been set up and counselors are available to talk with persons battling with thoughts of suicide and depression. Also, a National Suicide Prevention Plan is being implemented.
Present data collected from research studies revealed that 10-15% Guyanese suffer from a mental disorder, while some three to five per cent suffer from severe chronic mental disorder.
At the assembly, it was highlighted that the problem was concentrated in Regions Two, Four, Five and Six, and in Baramita, an indigenous community in the North West District.
Studies show that more than 80% of the people who commit suicide are Indo-Guyanese while the major risk factors are accessibility to lethal substances, irresponsible reporting by the media which causes copycat cases, and cultural and religious inference.
Psychiatrist Jorge Balseiro— who gave an overview of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Action Plan— also indicated that suicide is a multi-factorial problem which is consequently everybody’s business.
President David Granger, who delivered the main address, said that suicide is not an act of madness or mental instability, but in reality successful suicide cases are rarely ever sudden or spontaneous.
He said that it is usually premeditated, requiring careful calculation, “a cool head and steady nerves,” and in the end grabs newspapers headlines and sends a message to the public at large.
Granger said that there were many proposals attempting to address the issue but the statistics still escalate. “Suicide might seem to a person as a permanent solution to a persistent problem but victims are unlikely to be suffering from simple concerns. Suicide simply feels like salvation at the end of a long struggle.”
Therefore, he said strategies should provide a concerted, coordinated and collaborative approach, and in turn be supported by an action plan.
“There must be investigation and research to determine the causes of suicide before we try to prescribe solutions,” he said, but added that the inability to implement the necessary interventions is often a problem because of lack of resources and capacity.
“… That is why collaborative efforts are needed,” he said, proposing that the success of suicide prevention requires an approach that a good life is possible in Guyana.
“The time for bemoaning the problem has passed…talk will not end the deaths, action will and we need to take concerted actions,” he said.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds. Seventy-five per cent of global suicides occur in low and middle-income countries, with suicide rates high amongst vulnerable groups, and those experiencing discrimination— such as refugees and migrants; indigenous peoples; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and prisoners.
Nov 24, 2020– Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Minister Mustapha receive first copies Kaieteur News – The Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club, MS on Thursday last officially launched its 30th...
Nov 24, 2020
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – Governments in Central America are calling for “Climate Justice” after the... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]