WPO statement on World Prevention Suicide Day
Prevention Suicide Day will be observed on Sunday, September 10, and here in Guyana there are a number of activities that are planned to observe this day.
The Women’s Progressive Organization (WPO) will join in the commemoration activities by holding eight activities to show our concern and support to all who are involved in this fight and to bring awareness that suicide should not be the option to anyone.
The World Health Organization (WHO) at its 66th Assembly adopted the first ever mental health plan of the world in which prevention is an integral aspect of the plan with the goal of reducing the rate of suicide in countries by 10% by 2020.
Suicide is a major issue for society and it occurs all over the world and can take place at any age. Developed countries that have a good standard of living as well as middle class families and poor families in underdeveloped countries also suffer from this problem.
Statistics provided by WHO indicates that one person commit suicide every 40 seconds. In the Americas, the average estimated suicide rate is 7.3 per 100,000, which is lower that the global average of 11.4 per 100.
Guyana has the highest estimated suicide rate 44.2for 2012 in the world. Interestingly, the statistics, when analyzed, reveal that 72.2% males compared to 24.6% females take their life.
This information gives rise to a number of other questions, which as a nation we are confronted with. Why is it that more males take their lives?
Could it be that they are unable to cope with situations that confront them in life and as such they take the easy way out?
This is a complex problem, which has to be analyzed from a socialization context.
We live in a male-dominated environment where men were brought up to believe that they should be the sole provider in their families, they should be strong and they should be in charge of their homes.
This is the view that persisted for a very long time and even more so now. That debate is changing and has changed in many parts of the world as women seek to carve out a little space for themselves. The reality is that the changing nature of production and productivity makes it easier for women to take her place in the world of work. Thus, with more economic independence women are no longer tolerating abuse and violence and they are taking decisions which they could have never done before
Another important aspect of this problem is the absence of jobs and opportunities, which give rise to anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, we do not have the requisite institutions and mechanisms to deal with this troubling health problem. Coupled with this is the problem of alcohol and drug abuse as well as family dislocation.
In the absence of these essential services people tend to turn to the easy way out by taking their lives. What they fail to understand in coming to that conclusion is that while they may have ended their relationship with the problem, it is their families which are saddled with the burden and everything else that goes with suicide.
We call for more institutions and programmes to assist people who are depressed and who are in need of health related support.
We encourage civil society and faith based organizations to come on board to assist those persons who are troubled and who are unable to cope with their realities.
We need to remind citizens that there is never going to be a smooth life, there will always be challenges. Thus, while things are smooth they need to create linkages that they can fall back on.
Family and friend support is critical in this fight against suicide. Let us strife to live our life since it is the most cherished possession.
The WPO, therefore, calls on all Guyanese to light a candle or diya at 8.00 pm as a symbolic gesture.