Guyana authorities worried at high rate of suicides

Suicide in Guyana is a serious social problem. Guyana is ranked fourth in suicides per capita worldwide, and has the highest rate amongst South American and Caribbean nations.  About 40% of people who commit suicide in Guyana poison themselves by consuming agricultural pesticides.[1]   [from Wikipedia]

Guyana authorities worried at high rate of suicides

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday January 13, 2014, CMC – The Guyana government says a multi-sectoral approach is needed to deal with the number of suicides in the country.

Since the start of the year (in the first 10 days), 20 people have committed suicide, while several others are recovering from failed attempts.

Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsaran met with Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud and chief psychiatrist Bhiro Harry to discuss the issue of “mental health” saying afterwards that suicide is not only a mental health problem, but a cultural issue as well.   He said the Ministry of Health would be working closely with various government ministries and other stakeholders in a bid to reduce the high rate of suicides here.

The Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) in a statement Sunday January 12,  said it was “extremely perturbed over the incidents of suicide”.  

It said that suicide seems more prevalent in the East Berbice region and that it believes “this warrants interventions of national magnitude and calls on the authorities to declare the current situation of suicide a national priority.

“The IAC believes that despite some mechanisms to provide assistance, there has been a deficiency in this regard by public entities and private organisations,” the release said, adding that it was urging a  multi stakeholder approach in establishing a meaningful plan of action to tackle the issue.

“The lingering consequences brought to bear on surviving family members, especially when children are affected, must also be addressed. The IAC also believes that the circumstances which may be reasons for someone taking his or her life must be identified and addressed,” said the IAC.

Dr Persaud said the Ministry of Health was strengthening the “Gate Keepers Programme” to build capacity among faith-based organizations and other with emphasis placed on suicide-prone communities.

The Gate Keepers Programme was established by former Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy.

Among those who have committed suicide since the start of the year were Toneisha Edwards, 19, a student of the University of Guyana, who drank poison and Nandranie Oudit, 32, of who also ingested a poisonous substance.

The woman committed suicide five weeks after her 16-year-old son, a third year secondary school student, killed himself over a sour love affair.

Over the weekend, 15-year-old Leah Grant, a student of the Brickdam Secondary School, died at the Georgetown Public Hospital after ingesting a poisonous substance at school on Friday January 10.

Addressing suicide < click to read Editorial

May 20, 2013 – Guyana Times Editorial
VIDEO –  Guyana carries continent’s highest suicide rate

In the tiny South American nation of Guyana, suicide occurs in about one in every four thousand people, the highest in the continent.
Al Jazeera’s Craig Mauro reports from Berbice, one of the worst affected regions in the country.

Suicide Prevention  ——————————————————-

Here is a document  prepared by Ireland’s National Office for Suicide Prevention that may be useful in the Guyana situation:

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  • Restorer  On 01/19/2014 at 1:09 pm

    I am saddened and believe that a multi-sectoral approach is necessary. Parenting programmes should be a part of the activities at schools as well as the faith based organisations. Let’s work together and those who can pray, pray earnestly for our beloved country. We seem to have entered into “self-destruct” mode. May God help us.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 01/20/2014 at 6:55 am

    Please type “suicide” (without the quotation marks) in the search bar and you will see the history of the discussion of this subject on this forum.

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