As part of the efforts to prevent cases of suicide in Guyana, the Government will present a Bill to the National Assembly to address preventative measures to combat suicide and mental health awareness.
A section of the Bill will also seek the repeal of the law which makes attempted suicide a criminal offense in Guyana.
According to the Minister of Health, there have been numerous calls for the removal of attempted suicide from the list of criminal offenses.
“This is a Bill that we have been working on for some time and it encompases things that we can do to prevent suicides from happening. And the Bill also provides for the repeal of the section of the law that criminalises persons who attempt suicide. This has been something that people have been advocating for a long time to remove that section of the law and this Bill, once we pass it will repeal that section”, the Health Minister explained.
Guyana has one of the highest suicide rates in this region and when placed on the per capital index, the suicide rate is among the highest in the world.
The Minister of Health admitted that suicide remains a haunting issue in Guyana despite the many efforts to address the issue over the years. He said the efforts are ongoing to deal the problem.
Minister Anthony said “suicide has been a problem for Guyana for a number of years and we are considered to be one of the countries with a high suicide rate and we have been working to reduce the numbers and the numbers have come down, but it is still a problem, so we need to ensure we bring down these numbers even further, understand the root causes of suicide and to take action based on those findings. And we are approaching it in different ways”.
The Ministry of Health is expected to soon release additional policies and initiatives that seek to reduce the number of suicide cases.
During a public forum last year, a visiting Colombia University Professor who was conducting a study on Guyana’s suicide problem said said there is an urgent need for solutions to be found to Guyana’s mental health situation.
The Minister of Health said efforts are afoot to arrive at those solutions.