For World Suicide Prevention Month being observed this month, The Caribbean Voice (TCV) joined with the International Society for Suicide Prevention (IASP) for two global activities: Light a Candle and Cycle the Globe.
Light a Candle encouraged people globally to light a candle (or deya) near a window on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, at 8pm. The gesture was done to remember those who died by suicide and to honour those who survived, said a media release.
Cycle the Globe urges individuals to register at https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/cyclearoundtheglobe2021 and between September 10-October 10, ride a cycle (mobile or stationary) as often as possible, then total and enter the distance on the same website.
During the cycling participants can wear the suicide prevention ribbon, which is usually orange and/or carry a placard with the theme for this year’s Suicide Prevention Month, Creating Hope Through Action. All distances will be totalled and publicised; last year that amounted to twice around the globe, the release said.
TCV began Suicide Prevention Month with the launch of a suicide prevention campaign at Cane Grove, Guyana, from August 30-Sept 2. This was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and GOINVEST (government one-stop shop investment agency), at which individuals were trained as suicide prevention gatekeepers. These gatekeepers will become the eyes and ears of the community seeking to identify suicide ideation and take proactive action, the release said.
The campaign will continue with the trainees distributing 3,000 info leaflets to households to sensitise them about suicide prevention. They will also put up a number of full-colour, glossy posters at high traffic areas, featuring a message by TCV spokespeople, singing stars Terry Gajraj and Roger Hinds and contact info to seek help. This campaign will be taken to other parts of Guyana and other Caribbean nations over the next three years, the release said.
On World Suicide Prevention Day TCV held a two-hour virtual panel discussion on Prevention Suicide, with panellists drawn from across the Caribbean and the diaspora.
A similar panel discussion held in Barbados on the same day also included TCV representatives. TCV Team Barbados will also launch a Train the Trainer Suicide Prevention Gatekeepers’ programme in Barbados in collaboration with the Barbados Youth Advance Corp and other stakeholders.
The release said among Caribbean nations Guyana suicide is still a huge issue with the latest WHO figures indicating the second highest suicide rate, while Suriname is at number eight. On the flip side Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Honduras are among the top ten nations with lowest suicide rate.
The coronavirus pandemic has created a mental health crisis with suicide among mental health issues that have been directly impacted, rising significantly globally, after initially decreasing because of the lockdown. What is very revealing, the release said, is while that rate for females is 17.4, for males it is 63, a huge disparity, while globally, suicide ranks among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15–44 years.
Attempted suicides are up to 20 times more frequent than completed ones while globally it is estimated that 25 per cent or more suicides go unreported. As well, currently one out of every 100 deaths occur by suicide, and the World Health Organization aims to reduce the rate of suicide to a third by 2030.
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