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…urges citizens to “stop and listen”By Desilon DanielsA section of those gathered for the seminarEven as the relevant authorities continue their efforts in suicide prevention, Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence opined that the regular man should play his part by simply providing a listening ear to those in need.“Stop and listen,” were her words of advice when she made an address during a national stakeholders’ conference on suicide and related issues. She also stressed the need for stronger support systems at all levels of society.The conference, held yesterday at Cara Lodge, was organized by the New York-based non-governmental organisation Caribbean Voice.In her feature remarks, Minister Lawrence shared that the government viewed suicide as a serious issue plaguing the nation. She said that suicide was a threat to the development of the nation and, with Guyana having the highest suicide rate in the world, the need for a reduction in suicide was even more dire. She indicated efforts were underway by the government to reduce suicide.However, she said, efforts on the government’s side alone were not enough and therefore every citizen ought to play a part.“We all have a role to play in the prevention of suicide in Guyana,” she stressed. She continued, “Each and everyone one of us can identify a friend or colleague or brother,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, or sister or other family member who has reached that point where they felt like there was nothing else or no one else to turn to.”She explained that with suicide there is a sense of hopelessness with persons and they feel the need to escape their pain and suffering by taking their own lives. She said too that most suicide victims are youths who are at their most productive stage in life.“And too many times we’re too caught up in things we deem important to listen,Wholesale Jerseys China,” Minister Lawrence added.  She continued, “Sometimes we feel that when people approach us with their issues that we have all the answers and we forget to listen, but listening is a very crucial element to preventing suicide.”The Social Protection Minister further emphasised that long established misconceptions needed to be purged, while an understanding of the cultural and sociological issues underlying suicidal behaviour would be critical to have for suicide prevention.“Unfortunately, suicide is an issue that is still surrounded by fear, shame and silence. But by breaking through the barriers of stigma and silence and openly addressing the factors that contribute to suicide, we can all help to prevent it,” she said.Meanwhile, on the topic of support systems, Lawrence indicated that it was a solution she strongly believed in. She said that there is a need to gain support from not only faith-based organisations or the government but also from families, the community, teachers, employees and so forth.She also stressed that these support systems must cover all of the administrative regions of Guyana and also extend to those persons in the social service sector. She said too that resources must be made available to offer services not only to mentally ill persons, but as many persons of society.“Suicide is always preventable through caring, compassion, commitment and support…I therefore take this opportunity to appeal to everyone to do your best. In whatever way you can to reach out to individuals, since you do not know what their struggles are,” Lawrence implored.Similarly, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan emphasised the importance of community-level support as a means of curbing suicide.According to him,Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys, like crime, suicide is a scourge of Guyana.“Crime is on and it’s giving me lots of headaches…and the other scourge is this one, suicide,” he said.He opined that suicide is damaging to the people of Guyana and is a sign of declining civility.“We care not for the other it appears. Instead of the altruism I used to see as a young man, we don’t have that anymore. We have a state of individualism and greed that pervades. We have a number of problems and young people are not relating well and scoping skills are not there,” the minister said.Therefore, he said, public awareness campaigns will be launched by his ministry to educate the public on suicide and its link with other issues such as alcohol and drug abuse.Minister Ramjattan further said that in efforts to reduce and eliminate the incidence of suicide in Guyana,Wholesale Cheap Jerseys, the legislation and policies regarding suicide must be examined and reviewed. He said too that policies concerning the ready access to poisonous chemicals, herbicides,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, pesticides and weedicides will also come under the radar along with at-home storage of cleaning agents that are commonly ingested by suicidal persons.“EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS”The one-day conference saw wide participation from a number of organisations including Red Thread, Help & Shelter, the Indian Action Committee, Guyana Teachers’ Union and the African Cultural Development Association. Representatives from faith-based organisations were also present.For hours on end, those gathered discussed a range of issues including suicide, sexual crimes, abuse especially domestic and child abuse, and drugs and alcohol. During the four plenary sessions, attendees were able to express their concerns and offer suggestions on the way forward in dealing with each issue.It was noted that for all the issues raised that a change in culture would be the main driver of progress.“We need to change our thinking,” one participant said.Funding of projects related to suicide and related issues, was also raised, while the inclusion of activities such as music and drama to bring awareness was suggested. Other persons also spoke about the need for suicide to be a national priority while opining that more persons should be trained by the government to address the issue.But while it was noted that mental health and related issues were focus areas for the government, a participant said that not enough support was being given to persons working in the system. The young woman, who explained that she was interested in studying mental health and psychology abroad, noted that she had received no support from the government to do so.“Don’t just tell us it needs to be done; invest in it being done. We will serve for our time and empower others,” she said.According to Managing Director of Caribbean Voice Bibi Ahamad,Wholesale Jerseys, an action plan will be drafted from the plenary sessions and will be provided to the Guyana Government.
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