Life-savers to attend workshop on counselling

Guyana Chronicle
June 1, 2001

MEMBERS of the East Berbice Life-Savers Club will be in a better position to handle suicide cases after they participate in a workshop on Advanced Counselling Skills.

The five-day workshop to be held this month has attracted 28 participants from Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), including the communities of Black Bush Polder which have high suicide rates.

The workshop seeks to equip the counsellors with the competence and confidence needed to execute their tasks, expose them to the practical aspects in the fields and equip them with advanced skills.

The counsellors will be fully trained to work with persons who have attempted suicide or who are considered prone to commit suicide, victims of abuse of all types including domestic violence, and families who have suffered the loss of loved ones through suicide.

The facilitator is Mrs. Beverly Braithwaite-Chan, a family life educator and social worker who is attached to the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and the Guyana Association of Professional Social Workers.

The project is being funded by CIDA and was made possible through the Building Community Capacity Project (BCCP) and the Roadside Baptist Skills Centre.

It is envisaged that the participants will be further trained in Social Work at Levels One and Two.

The Institute of Distance and Continuing Education will also conduct similar training sessions. Successful participants will receive certificates from the University of Guyana.

The participants include school welfare officers, religious leaders, representatives of the Guyana Education Access Project (GEAP) and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), an insurance company, a women's group, community leaders and several teachers. Venue of the workshop is the Roadside Baptist Church Skills Training Centre at Number 68 Village, Berbice. This is a follow-up programme to the one held in August last year.

Twenty-nine participants from about 22 organisations between New Amsterdam and Crabwood Creek benefitted from the BCCP workshop and training session in Basic Counselling Skills.

At that seminar, the objective was to analyse the causes of suicide, discuss some possible preventative measures and train participants to counsel people prone to suicide as well as the survivors of attempted suicide.

The East Berbice Life-Savers Club was formed as a result of the alarming rate of suicide on the Corentyne. It was declared open by the First Lady, Mrs Varshnie Jagdeo on April 21 last.

Participants also benefited from an awareness workshop held at the Yakusari Primary School on April 13.

The participants, some of whom had attempted suicide or had lost loved ones by suicide, agreed that most suicides are linked to domestic violence and alcohol abuse.

The anti-suicide group has counselled several persons and held awareness programmes through youth, women's and religious groups. There were also several television programmes on the local station in Corriverton.

The Club was launched to create public awareness of the group and the services they offer.

As a result 25 fully trained counsellors from New Amsterdam to Crabwood Creek are now available to render much needed service.

The Club conducted a session in Black Bush Polder recently and residents have since requested that more ventures of this nature be held on a regular basis. (Guyana Information Services)