50 % of attempted suicide cases below the age of 25 years; discourse on suicide


To mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 Turkeyen and Tain Talks part two held a discourse on suicide titled Guyanese Lives Matter, Mental Health Matters: Preventing Suicide in Guyana.


These talks were held simultaneously in Region four at Duke Lodge in Kingston, Georgetown and in Region six at the University of Guyana’s Tain Campus.


During the Georgetown leg of the event on Monday, Psychiatrist, Dr. Bhiro Harry confirmed the long held belief that regions 2 and 6 are the most affected by suicide, with poisoning the most common way of persons ending or attempting to end their lives.


“What is most striking…East Indians in Guyana account for almost 80 percent of those who die by suicide and we make up 40 percent of the population …we have not lost hope, a lot  is being done,” Dr. Harry said.


Among the East Indian demographic who commit suicide, one-third belongs to the Hindu faith, the Doctor pointed out. Afro-Guyanese account for 30 percent of those who commit suicide.


Another striking discovery Dr. Harry disclosed is that for the attempted suicide cases, 50 percent of those persons are below the age of 25 years, with some 30 percent of those persons between the ages of 12 and 18 years old.



Interestingly too, Dr. Harry said while the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation has recorded a reduction in the number of suicides, there has been an increase in the use of carbon tablets, which are used to kill rats. He said more research needs to be done to further address the scourge.


Meantime, Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton in his presentation said as outlined by the National Suicide Prevention Programme, which was launched last year, multiple actions are being implemented.




He noted that “what is important to note…is the multi-sectoral approach to suicide prevention, this has placed focus on four specific action areas… I refer to Risk Factor Reduction, and Health Promotion/Intervention, Reducing Access to means of suicide by improving health systems and Responses to suicidal behavior and fourthly Strengthening Surveillance and Research on Suicide in Guyana.”



Dr. Norton said whether it is reluctance to listen or being pressed for time, this is not the way to go when persons, who are feeling hopeless reach out for help. He urged persons to reach out to their relatives and friends during their time of distress, all in an attempt to help eradicate the scourge of suicide in Guyana.


Other presenters included PAHO/WHO representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow, Gender Studies Lecturer, Paulette Henry, final year graduate student in the Masters in Public Health Programme, Liza Marie Merai and forest ecologist Dr. Raquel Thomas Caesar.


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