Grenada to develop Suicide Prevention Programme

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Grenada recorded its latest suicide case in June
  • Suicide Prevention consultation from Monday, 30 July to Wednesday, 1 August 2018
  • Strategy to restrict access to most common means of suicides and suicide attempts

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that over 800,000 people commit suicide each year and it is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds. In response to this, health professionals in Grenada are coming together to establish a comprehensive Suicide Prevention Programme as part of a multisectoral suicide prevention strategy.

This 3-day consultation is set to run from Monday, 30 July to Wednesday, 1 August 2018. On the agenda, health officials will be reviewing Grenada’s current suicide statistics and the current state of mental health services. They will also be developing a framework for a Suicide Prevention Plan and identification of strategic lines of actions to help curb this societal ill, as well as looking at ways to reduce access to the means of suicide and coping strategies for prevention of suicides.

Health professionals believe that an effective strategy for preventing suicides and suicide attempts is to restrict access to the most common means, including pesticides, firearms, and certain medications.

Meanwhile Psychotherapist and Child Protection Specialist, Dr Hazel Da Breo says there are some glaring early warning signs that denote an individual is contemplating suicide. She said these signs if noticed early, can result in someone receiving help before it’s too late. “People who are contemplating suicide are those people who don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, and that becomes unbearable. Several warning signs can signal a red flag including changes in personality or behaviour; a person becomes withdrawn from society; a change in a person’s sleeping patterns and appetite. They can become harmful to themselves or towards other people. A drastic change in a person’s hygiene are all signs to look out for.”

The Sweet Water Foundation established a free, online 24-hour helpline for victims of sexual violence or child sexual abuse and to assist people contemplating suicide. The helpline provides confidential and anonymous counselling services to the general public.

The helpline can be accessed on 1-473-800-4444 or via WhatsApp on 473-537-STOP (7867) or [email protected]

Da Bero says it is also important to note that the helpline can assist victims of sexual abuse. “We provide counselling services to people who have questions about their sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and adults who have concerns that a child who may be at risk of sexual harm. We also work with people who have sexually abused a child and are worried about offending again. When you call us or text us, we will not ask you your name or any identifying features, but we will ask about your age category because we will speak to you differently based on your age but nothing that’s going to compromise your confidentiality. So you don’t have to be afraid to say things to us because we wouldn’t be able to guess who you are and we definitely wouldn’t act upon it. For instance, callers who want to talk about some wrong thing that they have done can feel safe to contact us because we are not looking to capture your contact to call the police unless it is understood that you intend to cause harm to someone else.”

Grenada recorded its latest suicide case in June: a 27-year-old from Gouyave Estate. The table below shows the number of suicide cases in Grenada from 2013 – 2016.

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