In observance of World Suicide Day, the Caribbean Voice in collaboration with 30 organizations, on Saturday evening held a countrywide candle light vigil in remembrance of suicide victims. These vigils were being
done simultaneously at numerous locations from 6:30 pm.
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day was ‘Connect, Communication, and Care’ — three words at the heart of suicide prevention.
The participants at the Georgetown locations included Stabroek Leo’s Club, South Georgetown, Leo Club, Save Abee foundation; GIVE Foundation, Crossroad Suicide and Mental Services, Guyana Hindi Dharmic Sabha, SASOD, Seventh Day Adventist, the Miss Guyana Universe Organisation and the Enterprise Youth Development Group, (EYDG).
Samantha Sheoprashad, Head of the EYDG, said the first step in ending suffering, pain, and guilt is to connect with the Almighty.
She said that by focusing on light, it is said that one can eventually become the light which can transfer knowledge into society thus eliminating darkness and ignorance.
“The light itself is to bring inner peace to all and to represent a symbol of hope. Candle meditation is a present-awareness exercise which can be used to further enhance your present awareness, focus you’re the light.”
“In this case, there is a non-violent and peaceful way to bring attention to important issues which impact the country at large through having candlelight vigils.”
Bibi Ahamad, the Vice President and the Managing Director of the Caribbean Voice, said that this is the first year the organization has hosted such an event. It would like the programme to be held annually.
She explained the Caribbean Voice will continue to reach out to a number of organizations from the civil society and to religious groups to help make this a success.
“The main objective for the vigil is to reach out to persons countrywide. The members of the organization believe that connecting at the community level will help to open communication which will allow communities to tackle the social ills that are plaguing.”
Head of the Board of Directors, Collin Haynes said that the group is seeing resounding success and is currently working and trying to target as many groups as possible.
He stated that there is a need for more cooperation from the various religious bodies to fight suicide. According to Haynes, many other groups and networks have been formed so as to provide help to those in need in a timely manner.
Xamiera Kippins, a finalist in the Miss Guyana Universe 2016 pageant, said, “Suicide is everybody’s business, and it’s up to us as Guyanese to be aware of suicide and the consequence that it has on the families and friends.
“I urge Guyanese to look out for the signs and to reach out to persons that are thinking about suicide, that they would get help.”
Her advice to persons contemplating suicide is to talk about their feelings and not internalise them.
Suicide in Guyana is a serious social problem that need immediate fixing and that is what the groups’ aims to do. Guyana is ranked first in suicide worldwide with about 40% of people who commit suicide ingest poisonous substances.
The World Health Organization, (WHO) estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year— one person every 40 seconds. Up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. The tragic ripple effect means that there are many, many more people who have been bereaved by suicide or have been close to someone, who tried to take his or her own life. And this is happening in spite of the fact that suicide is preventable.
The first World Suicide Prevention Day was held in 2003 and was an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).
If you or anyone is feeling depressed and possibly contemplating suicide, please call the Guyana Inter-agency Suicide helpline which operates 24 hours, and is organised by the Guyana Police Force. The telephone is 223-0001, 223-0009, 223-0818; cellphone numbers include – 600-7896 / 623-4444.
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