Media plays an important role in reducing the number of suicide cases in Guyana-Health Minister

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As Guyana is working aggressively to reduce its suicide rates, which are among the highest in the world, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony has stressed the important role the media fraternity plays in preventing such cases.

Dr Anthony was at the time delivering the feature address at the opening of a two-day training hosted by the Guyana Press Association (GPA) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health (PAHO/WHO).

The training focused on reporting responsibly in the context of Mental Health, Suicide and Trauma.

The government, he said has taken steps to prevent the instances of suicide in the country by promoting prevention.

However, Dr Anthony noted that media professionals must be responsible when disseminating information related to suicide and mental health.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony addressing members of the media the training. (Photo: DPI/September 22, 2023)

The Suicide Prevention Act which was passed in the National Assembly in 2022 ensures responsible reporting. This includes charging persons or an entity for revealing the names of victims who died by suicide, the method they used and even the location where it occurred. These are important factors that must be considered when reporting suicide cases and even mental health.

“We have to be careful about what we’re publishing. We have to be careful. This is not censorship, this is being responsible and I think there is a big difference from censorship and being responsible because we all live in this society and we want those numbers to go down,” Dr Anthony said.

He pointed out that media can bridge the information gap between medical professionals and the general public in the areas of mental health, suicide prevention and even other health-related issues.

“This is important, whether its mental health, whether its what we promote and what we eat, it is something that we ought to look at,”he said.

Several media professionals from both the public and private entities attended the two-day training, where they were sensitised on the newly enacted Suicide Prevention Act and were exposed to guidelines that ensure responsible reporting on mental health, suicide and trauma. (Extracted from DPI)

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