Region One students rally against suicide

DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Monday, May 29, 2017

Hundreds of students from Mabaruma in Region One came together on Thursday, and joined in a rally, aimed at raising awareness for youth suicide and suicide prevention.

The rally was convened under the theme, ‘Take a Minute, Change a life’ was held at the Mabaruma Primary School; which saw invited speakers, including Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley stressing to students who may be  struggling that they “are not alone.”

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings interacting with some of the school children on the suicide awareness walk

“Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, rather it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better, and therefore, I want to encourage you that when the thoughts of committing suicide or ending your life comes, find someone  who would take that minute to help you change your mind,” the Regional Chairman urged.

He asked the students to place their hands over their heart as, “The beat of the heart tells you that you are here for a purpose. It tells you that the only way you can find purpose is not by dying. It is not by committing suicide, but by finding ways to face the challenges that may arise before us,” he said. “So I want to encourage you not to give up at no cost, amidst what the situation can be. It is better to continue trying,” he added.

The Regional Chairman also urged the students to learn the warning signs, watch for them, to be their brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and look out for the depressed and vulnerable.

“I want to, as the Regional Chairman, to encourage the citizens of Region One to let us together collectively, break down barriers and start building bridges…our role in society is to help people to do better than what they are doing right now, not for them to go backward, but to inspire them to tell them that tomorrow is going to be a better day. Today might be rainy, but tomorrow will be sunny,” he said.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings who was also present at the rally, underscored how the government continues to intensify its effort towards reducing the suicide rate.

Dr. Cummings explained that at the beginning  2016, when the suicide rate in Guyana escalated sharply, President David Granger

A section of the school children gathered at the suicide awareness walk in Mabaruma

summoned an urgent meeting in January 2016 with several government Ministers, to chart a strategic course for combating the scourge of suicide in Guyana. This saw the commencement of a national programme, which includes a National Task Force on suicide, and which has been vital in reducing the suicide rate in the country, the minister explained.

“Our government is committed to improving the lives of our people, and the President, His Excellency David Granger is a leading example, because he has ensured that there are timely interventions, and these timely interventions have led to improvement in our suicide rate, because we were number one in the world, but right now we are number three,” the minister said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), each year close to 800,000 people die due to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds. Over the last five years, the data collected by the Ministry of Public Health indicate that most suicide cases are concentrated in the coastal areas. Regions 1, 7, 8, and 9 account for just over four per cent of the cases, but recent evidence suggests that this may be higher.


By: Macalia Santos


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