‘Suicide is preventable’ – Minister Cummings

DPI, GUYANA, Sunday, September 10, 2017

Suicide is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. On Sunday, September 10, 2017, the world observed world Suicide Prevention Day under the theme “Take a minute, change a life.”

The Ministry of Public Health is encouraging persons who may need help to contact the Ministry of Public Health Mental Health Unit or to seek counselling. Persons can also call any one of the suicide hotline numbers on: (+592) 223-0001, 223-0009, 600-7896, 623-4444, 592-223-0818 or on Facebook- at Guyana Interagency Suicide Prevention Help Line.

Minister of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings (center), Director of Mental Health Dr. Util Richmond-Thomas (right) among the crowd at the Suicide Concert.

Guyana joined the rest of the world in this observation by hosting a concert at the Seawall Bandstand, Kingston. This was facilitated by the Ministry of Public Health’s Mental Health Unit under the theme “Mental Health is we Business: Take a Minute and Let’s Talk”.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings said that suicide remains a major public health concern to the government of Guyana. The Minister emphasised that suicide is preventable adding that the signs and actions by individuals must not be ignored.

Dr. Cummings reminded that “a suicidal person may not ask for help, but that does not mean that help is not desperately needed… if you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid of bringing up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.”

She noted that it is important to recognise that the trauma of suicide attempts leaves the victims permanently, physically, psychologically and emotionally scared.  Dr. Cummings pointed out that the Ministry of Public Health continues to work assiduously to raise awareness against suicide and help persons in need.

“We will continue to utilise media campaigns and education to raise awareness of suicide. We will be utilising a strong educational approach to dispel the myths about suicide and let others know about the realities surrounding national health crisis” the Minister explained.

The Ministry of Public Health Dr. Cummings said, will continue to forge ahead with the implementation of the 2015 to 2020 Mental Health Action Plan. Additionally, she stated that the Ministry will strive resolutely to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Number three of Good Health and Well-Being for all Guyanese.

Director of Mental Health Dr. Util Richmond-Thomas said that it is important to discuss the issues of suicide. She pointed out that over 800,000 persons die of suicide each year worldwide and that Guyana has its fair share.

“It is our business to conquer the preventable death of suicide. Every person who died of suicide lived in a community, most have relatives, friends, co-workers or classmates, yet they feel isolated and unable to cope with life stresses and make a decision that it is better to check out of life” the Director explained.

Speaking to the theme, she encouraged everyone to take a minute and let troubled persons know that they can trust relatives and friends and not be ashamed to discuss their issues.


By: Isaiah Braithwaite