As Guyana continues to fight to reverse the number of cases of suicide, the government on Thursday unveiled a five year Suicide Prevention Plan (2015 – 2020) as it joined in global observances to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
The Ministry of Public Health teamed up with Miss Guyana World Lisa Punch and at a ceremony held in Georgetown, it released the plan while Punch also introduced her campaign platform for the upcoming Miss World pageant.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Guyana. According to a Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) report, more men are taking their own lives than women in Guyana.
The report also claims that most suicides occur in Region #2 followed by Regions #6, 3 and 4 respectively.
While Guyanese account for .001% of the world population it contributes .003% to the global suicide rate which is three times its fair share.
Addressing these alarming statistics, Public Health Minister Dr. George Norton said it is for this reason that every Guyanese should make suicide prevention their business.
He said it is important for all stakeholders to become involved in awareness actions.
Dr. Norton also reminded that support is crucial for those affected. The Ministry has several activities planned to observe the occasion which includes engagements with the media and several publications, including radio and television series to raise awareness.
A suicide help line has also been set up, in conjunction with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) for persons contemplating the act.
GTT has also contributed some $4 million to Lisa Punch’s “Staying Alive – say yes to living” campaign.
Punch, in 2014 formed the group – Prevention of Teenage Suicide (POTS) – and has been pushing the agenda since.
She told the gathering on Thursday that suicide remains 100% preventable and must be eradicated. A video for the songstress new single – Staying Alive – was also released.
Through her campaign, 10 billboards are to be erected in all the administrative regions, thanks to GTT and Caribbean Voice.