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GEORGETOWN – Guyana, which has one of the highest rates of suicides globally, has launched an anti-suicide campaign aimed at raising awareness of the situation.
The Anti-Suicide, Anti-Violence Campaign is being organised by Caribbean Voice (TCV), in collaboration with Voices Against Violence and the grouping also used the occasion to announce the selection of Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton to be their patron and Miss World Guyana, Ambika Ramraj as their spokesperson.
The month-long campaign is aimed at raising awareness on the issue of suicide and is set to end with candlelight vigils across the country on the eve of September 10, which is internationally observed as World Suicide Prevention Day.
Norton has encouraged “fellow Guyanese to get on board with this initiative,” and collaborate with not only Caribbean Voice but other bodies “working towards ending suicide and violence all together".
“As a people, it is important for us to unite against all forms of social ills and I believe that observing these vigils would be a great start.,” he said, noting that Guyana was one of the countries which “moved aggressively to develop a suicide prevention plan” which has resulted in the drastic decline of the nation’s suicide rate.
A 2012 World Health Organization report indicated that Guyana had a suicide rate of 44.2 per 100 000 people, and that for every single female suicide, there were 3.2 male suicides. By comparison, neighbouring Suriname had a suicide rate of 27.8 per 100 000, and Venezuela’s rate was 2.6 per 100 000.
TCV National Director, Nizam Hussain, said while September 10 is observed as World Suicide Prevention Day, the organisation has taken it a step further by adding “Anti-Violence” to the campaign because suicide has become increasingly associated with domestic abuse.
“The vision of the Caribbean Voice is for every Guyanese to understand the basic elements of suicide, its warning signs.” He explained that every action committed “emanates out of the brain, the thought of harm emanates out of the brain.”
TCV’s Education and Training Director, Leslyn Holder, said that in their efforts to address suicide in all regions of Guyana, the organisation is set to host three-day sessions for an entire year. These sessions are expected to begin in July 2019. (CMC)