Hard times ‘could prompt more suicides’
An independent development consultant has put Barbados on notice for an increase in the number of males committing suicide.
Cecilia Babb said that due to the current austerity measures she was sure that more “men are going to commit suicide”.
Her comments were made to a large gathering at a Women & Development Unit (WAND) and the Nation Publishing Co. sponsored public forum titled: Economic Challenges In Barbados And You on Wednesday night at the Moot Court of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies.
Babb was part of the panel that included former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Barbara Langdon-thompson who spoke from a credit union perspective, and Government’s chief economic advisor Avinash Persuad.
Speaking on the topic Find A Way, Babb addressed the impact of economic challenges on the household. She looked at each member and identified some of the pressures that were likely to be present, were going to be increased and which would be there, she said, for a sustained period.
She noted that men will be affected, especially those who are breadwinners, unemployed young men and those who live in households headed by women and although they might be qualified cannot find employment.
“So a lot of pressures will follow them. Some of them will be able to retain their income but a lot of them will not be able to retain their income . . . . Those who already provide, if their incomes are reduced they will be less able to provide.”
Babb said men tend to commit suicide more frequently than women, and she suggested this was the case because money is tied to a man’s sense of his manhood.
“I’m aware that when men do not have money they are disturbed in a different way from the way that women are disturbed. Women are disturbed about the material well-being of their family, men are disturbed about their manhood. And they find other ways to express their manhood than maybe to the benefit of the household,” she said.
Some of the other pressures Babb expects to befall the household during austerity is a deterioration of the quality of life both materially and emotionally, less family time, the health of women, and as parents seek additional income through alternative employment, multiple jobs or extended work hours that will result in more young people being left to care for their own developmental, emotional and nutritional needs.
Avinash Persaud (left) and Cecilia Babb.