Mrs. Nagamootoo joins calls for action against suicide, domestic violence

GINA, Guyana, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo, wife of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, has issued a call for action to be taken to address the social ills of suicide and domestic violence which are of concern to Government, civil society stakeholders and Guyanese in general.

Government has launched, through a collaborative approach, an inter-Ministerial taskforce to address these issues. The taskforce will be guided by the Ministry of Public Health’s National Suicide Prevention Plan.

Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo

Mrs. Sita Nagamootoo

Mrs. Nagamootoo said, “Each person is important, it doesn’t matter if I am a teacher or PM, (Prime Minister) is PM, or someone is a fisherman or a market vendor, life is a chain. We all depend on each other; therefore each of us is important.”

Mrs. Nagamootoo, an educator and former lecturer of the Cyril Potter College of Education was at the time speaking at a recent vigil at the Anna Catherina Islamic Complex (ACIC), Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara. Mrs. Nagamootoo pointed out that for years she has been encouraging persons everywhere to love life, as the Nagamootoo family is concerned about the issues of suicide and domestic violence.

“My message out there to everyone is to say to yourself ‘love life’, ‘I love life’ and also to your neighbours and your friends and your colleagues at your workplace and elsewhere to say to them ‘I care about you’,” the former lecturer stated.

Mrs. Nagamootoo called on parents to be more conscious of their children’s actions and behaviour.

“I think we have to look at our children from a very early age and there is where early childhood education comes into action. We have to cultivate self-esteem in our children from a very early age, we have to be able to say to our children, and the little ones growing up, you are important, you have a purpose in life.”

The educator urged parents to attend the meetings of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) regularly, so they can be aware of their child/children’s performance and behaviour at school.

Mrs. Nagamootoo explained that far too often, children are left to be frustrated and develop negative attitudes.  “We cannot leave them to find out that they don’t have a purpose in life, and I know for sure that sometimes when parents are frustrated, when things are bad at home and we are surrounded by so many problems, sometimes we say irresponsible things to our children, as well.”

The educator also urged the need for counsellors and for teachers to be vigilant. “We need to have more counsellors at school, more counsellors in our villages and districts… I think our men also need counselling, our women also need counselling, where are these counsellors? We are yet to have them,” she said.

Calling for teachers to be the watch guards for the parents and guardians, Mrs. Nagamootoo urged that they be on the lookout for telltale signs that things may not be normal with children.

Mrs. Nagamootoo also called for the establishment of more call centres so that persons can have an avenue for assistance.

The National Suicide Prevention Plan, as presented to the stakeholders, will provide guidance for the development of a joint work plan including a wide cross-section of partners. The work plan will enable collaboration among Government Ministries, international partners, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and other stakeholders.

The proposed activities in this multi-sectoral approach will be aligned to one of four strategic action areas: risk factor reduction, health promotion and suicide prevention; reducing access to the means of suicide; improving health systems’ response to suicidal behaviour and strengthening surveillance and research on suicide.