The Rap­ing of He­len’s Chil­dren!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lu­cia H. Best

In Saint Lu­cia sui­cides used to be an un­com­mon oc­cur­rence, ac­corded to some sort of su­per­nat­u­ral spell overcoming the vic­tims. It was all wrapped in voodoo. Peo­ple had no real un­der­stand­ing of why sui­cides oc­curred or the state of mind of the sui­cide vic­tim which led them to carry out this act. Truth be told, peo­ple still do not un­der­stand sui­cide in large mea­sure be­cause they have not been in the in­di­vid­u­als’ shoes. The act of tak­ing one’s own life is a religious taboo and against the law in this coun­try.

Time has evolved and more in­for­ma­tion has been com­ing to light that tells us how sui­cides are closely re­lated to de­pres­sion, great in­ner pain and tur­moil and bipo­lar con­di­tions. Since 2013 the is­land is be­ing con­fronted with alarm­ing sta­tis­tics cap­tur­ing so far, ten cases of sui­cide over the past eigh­teen months in Saint Lu­cia and four sui­cides for the first three months of 2016.

The sit­u­a­tion is a cul­ture shock, a stark re­al­ity and is mind bog­gling. Rea­sons and ex­pla­na­tions for the in­crease and fre­quency of th­ese acts vary as griev­ing fam­i­lies and psy­chother­a­pists make news ap­pear­ances while a largely help­less and con­fused pub­lic looks on.

The feel­ings of help­less­ness have ap­par­ently gripped the au­thor­i­ties too. As we lis­tened to the Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Babon­neau Alv­ina Reynolds on the news, it was clear that once again this of­fi­cial had no an­swers to the na­tion’s press­ing is­sues which fall within her port­fo­lio. Never mind that the re­cent sta­tis­tics for sui­cides are high­est in Babon­neau. And in­stead of find­ing out the root cause one of the min­is­ter’s mouth pieces Vir­ginia Al­bert Poy­otte blames the me­dia for la­belling the com­mu­nity.

To my mind there should have been a ro­bust na­tional re­sponse in place one year ago, if not ear­lier. This very dis­turb­ing spate of sui­cides has been a dark cloud over the coun­try all through­out 2014 and now we hear that a re­sponse is be­ing “fast tracked”? Can the political di­rec­torate ever ac­com­plish any­thing in a timely and ur­gent man­ner?

Some­how the min­is­ter’s com­ments and fa­cial ex­pres­sion al­ways man­ages to con­vey that she is “lost in won­der­land”. She has no an­swers. Per­haps there was a re­sponse to be rolled out in the next twenty years but now it will be fast tracked to 2016. Heels – drag­ging on the sui­cide cri­sis here is un­ac­cept­able.

The Cas­tries Sev­enth Day Ad­ven­tist Church on May 15, 2015, al­most one year ago mounted a re­sponse well be­fore the dawdling Health Min­is­ter and Cab­i­net col­leagues can say what they are do­ing to ad­dress this is­sue on the ground by a par­tic­u­lar time frame.

Why a govern­ment re­sponse you ask? Ob­vi­ously, the govern­ment is re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing sus­tain­able so­cial ser­vices in this coun­try. The anti– sui­cide cam­paign must be tailored to in­clude in your face, one on one in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple; much like the Je­ho­vah Wit­nesses carry out their home vis­its. A lot more has to be said and done by all other sec­tors to im­plant in the minds of the cit­i­zenry that Hu­man Life is way too valu­able to end so sadly.

An­other life cut short by sui­cide as the talk­ing con­tin­ues in Saint Lu­cia with­out any deep anal­y­sis or re­search as the root cause of a re­cent spike in sui­cides here.

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