POTS’ suicide prevention walk garners huge response

DPI, GUYANA, Sunday, September 9, 2018

The third suicide prevention walk hosted by the Prevention of Teenage Suicide (POTS), saw a positive response from participants and partners. The event was held in observance of International Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2018.

At 06:00hrs, participants assembled at the intersection of Charlotte and Camp Streets before moving off, taking their message to various communities along the route. The walk concluded at the 1763 Monument, Square of the Revolution where they were addressed by the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.

In brief remarks, the Health Minister told the gathering that the energy and unity shown by those participating in the event must also be shown to those often silently facing challenges in their lives. She called on them to be their “brother and sister keepers.”

“As we are on the eve of Suicide Prevention Day we are still as a human race grappling with this situation of stigma and discrimination, we are still grappling with the fact that so many of us can find other things to do but not to give an ear to our brothers and sisters and so as we march on not only today but for the rest of our lives. I trust that it will not only be the collective but it would be the singularity where each and every one of us finds it as our responsibility to talk, listen and give good advice to someone,” the minister said.

According Minister Lawrence, the ministry has placed more emphasis on creating healthy communities through the establishment of the “Many Communities Outreach’” which aims at making health care services more easily accessible to citizens. The ministry has also launched another initiative called “We Are at Your Door” a medical outreach that focuses on government and private agencies to ensure that staff are receiving both physical and mental health services.

“In the workplace, there is stress and so we want to ensure that we get out there and inform persons not only what they can do but the many services are being offered by the ministry,” the minister said.

A booklet which includes the listing of the various agencies and service offered by the Ministry of Public Health will be published before year-end.
Vice President Finance, Rafieya’s International Vision & Hope (RIVAH) Zalena Khan, said that her agency’s involvement in POTS’ walk is an expansion of its mission to not only assist domestic abuse victims but to also support raising awareness of suicide prevention. This agency has donated $200,000 towards the effort.

Representing another partner – Massy Distribution (Guyana) Incorporated – Christpen Bobb-Semple, Director, Corporate Management Systems, said: “We (Massy) also partnered up with MOPH through the mental health unit and Ministry of Education so later this month we will be having a debate competition with high school students and next month theatrical performance at the National Cultural Centre (NCC) where we hope to target 800 students from over 19 schools in Guyana so this is really lending our support to the cause.”

Established in 2014, the NGO – Prevention of Teenage Suicide (POTS), now has 60 volunteers dedicated to reducing suicide in Guyana, through informative lectures, and providing bereavement support services to survivors of suicide.

Neola Damon
Images: Karime Peters


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