The root of the suicide problem needs to be addressed

Stabroek News
January 15, 2016

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Related Link: Suicide

Dear Editor,

The abnormally high suicide rate is unlikely to drop and will continue to climb bearing in mind that we are failing to address the root of this problem. There is a catalogue of issues fuelling this scourge which includes widespread illiteracy, a high murder rate, inadequate health care particularly in the field of mental health, joblessness, poverty, dysfunctional politics, corruption, alcoholism, domestic abuse, turbulent ethnic relations, marginalization and a succession of dysfunctional governments.

Obstacles such as these create stressful life events, triggering the onset of mental health related issues including hopelessness, despair, low self-worth, depression and anxiety, among others.

Reducing the suicide rate would require radically reversing this dynamic, but nothing is being done. Instead, we take a band-aid approach. We hide pesticides and ropes, among others.

However, this results in temporary solutions only, leaving victims in an environment conducive to relapse.

To make matters worse, the Indo-Guyanese population is particularly affected, and this requires professionals with an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of this subculture. However, there is a lack of such personnel at the Ministry of Social Protection.

Dealing with this problem would require us to utilize appropriate interventions (the gatekeepers programme, hiding pesticides, talk therapies, drug therapies and engaging the right professionals, among others) in conjunction with aggressively reversing some of the other problems mentioned above.

Yours faithfully,

Cecil Dilip Kumar