Georgetown: Large numbers of Berbicians today joined the Suicide Prevention Walk held in East Berbice, Region Six under the theme, ‘I choose life, I love my life, say yes to life’. The walk was organised by the Humanitarian Mission of Guyana in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Social Protection, and the Region Six Regional Administration.
The walk was aimed at raising awareness about the need for everyone to join the fight against suicide. It started at Dr. Tulsi Street, through Williamsburg into Rosehall and ended at the Port Mourant Community Centre.
Among those participating in the walk were Ministers in the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings and Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), New Amsterdam Hospital, Colin Bynoe, Regional Chairman, David Armogan, Regional Executive Officer, Veersammy Ramayya and students from the Lower Corentyne area.
Minister Cummings pointed out that the march was very important, as it brought together individuals and organisations with an interest in suicide prevention and mobilised efforts to save lives.
The Minister sought to inform the participants about suicide and its impact on the country. She explained that the suicide profile in Guyana is well-known, with the majority of cases being among Indo Guyanese below age 35 from Regions Two and Six. There are also cases in Regions Three and Four and some in Region One.
The risk factor is more frequently due to acute emotional distress and depression, family dysfunction and abuse. The loss of a life by suicide affects the family, friends and loved ones, and is now becoming a burden on society, Minister Cummings said. She also outlined some of the misconceptions of suicide and urged persons not to entertain those thoughts.
Meanwhile, Minister Ferguson expressed how happy she was to witness and participate in such an activity that sought to address the scourge that has taken a toll on the nation.
“There is life beyond suicide…The good books; the Holy Bible, the Quran, and Bhagavad Gita do not speak about suicide, ” Ferguson told the gathering.
Guyana has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the world. According to reports, close to 200 Guyanese die by suicide yearly.
Every year 800,000 people die from suicide; therefore, within every second 40 people kill themselves, Minister Ferguson said.
She also urged persons to assist in the battle to eradicate suicide, by offering words of encouragement to someone whom they know may want to commit the act. To the young people, she said, “Choose life, love life and save life.”
Even as government is working to address the issue of suicide Minister Cummings emphasized that, “For too long this issue has brought about a stain on the social fabric of this beautiful nation. Let us look at ways in which we can work together as Guyanese citizens and tackle suicide in our society.”