Suicide prevention heading in a positive direction


The Mental Health Unit on Tuesday held a rally and concert in observance of World Suicide Day 2019.

Director of the Mental Health Unit, Dr Util Richmond-Thomas said that Guyana is heading in a positive direction as it relates to the prevention of suicide.

“Suicide is a very important public health problem not only for Guyana but for the rest of the world and so we are very vigorous in terms of suicide prevention,” the Director said.

“We are heading in the right direction, of course, every life lost is too much, even one…the work is by no means finished.”

World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 is being held under the theme – Working together to prevent suicides.

A number of persons from the Ministry of Public Health, Nursing and Mental Health Units, the President Youth Award Republic of Guyana and the University of Guyana gathered at the Mental Health Unit on Quamina Street, Georgetown to kick start the Suicide Prevention rally.

The rally ended at the National Cultural Centre where a packed programme was rolled out to raise more awareness on suicide prevention.

The Mental Health Director said that since the Unit started in 2016 they have been doing a number of things to prevent suicide in Guyana.

“Since May of 2016 we have made lots of strides, when the mental health unit started up the suicide rates were very very high, but thank God we can say that in 2017 our suicide rate was 24.6%, where in 2014 according to the documents in the National Suicide prevention plan it was allegedly 44.4% and the highest in the world.”

In 2018 the rate reduced even further to 18.8%.

The Director noted that they have been training doctors and other health care providers at the Unit’s location on Qaumina Street every Monday for health care workers.

Doctors are being trained on how to manage the most common mental health conditions such as depression, self-harm and suicide.

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