Categorized | National News

Bahamians “Suffering In Silence”

A cabinet minister admitted yesterday that many Bahamians are in distress and “suffering in silence,” but refuse to use the government’s national crisis hotline for help.

In fact, Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin said the hotline is being underutilised by the public.

“There is much pain and suffering in our country and many persons suffer in silence often to their detriment,” she said at a news conference at the ministry Monday.

“We believe that every person deserves to live in a world free from violence or abuse. We believe that safe homes and safe families are the foundation of a safe society. Domestic violence, abuse, helplessness and other personal crisis are not just confined to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial or age group and know no geographical or educational boundaries. If you are experiencing any of these issues and don’t know who to turn to or what to do, the hotline is available to you. If you know someone experiencing any of these issues, the hotline is available to you.”

She continued, “We all want a safer Bahamas. We want a Bahamas where all can live in peace and free from abuse or violence. We must work together to make this a reality and ensure that help is available to those in distress.”

As a result, the Ministry of Social Services has rebranded the national crisis hotline in hopes of encouraging Bahamians to make more use of it.

Officials say the hotline has catered to individuals coping with child abuse, domestic violence, marital and financial problems, homelessness, stress, depression, runaways and suicidal tendencies.

But even though these problems have not gone away in society, officials have experienced a decrease in calls.

The government is getting help from several corporate partners, including Sigma Management, UBS, the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), Dan Knowles, SG Private Banking and Commonwealth Brewery.

The primary sponsor, however, is Grant Thornton Bahamas.

Senior Partner at Grant Thornton Paul Gomez said while the government and several corporal partners have stepped up to the plate to assist distressed Bahamians more private sector partnerships are needed.

“In the country today, we have some major problems. We also have serious issues with funding to address many of those problems. We really need to appeal to the general public – especially companies who are doing well to make a difference to step forward to really assist the Ministry of Social Services,” he said.

“I believe that the Ministry of Social Services is the most important ministry in The Bahamas. The ministry doesn’t have a lot of money. However, the services provided by the ministry are so vital to the social and financial well-being of the country that we really need to ask people to step forward to make a difference.”

In addition to being a sponsor, Grant Thornton has asked noted Bahamian Dr. Davidson Hepburn to help get the message out about the hotline.

He said he is ready to hit the ground running.

“One of the things I want to do is make the national hotline a user-friendly term and a household name for all Bahamians. I do not like to spend my time just talking. I like to see action and that is what we are going to do. So I am very pleased to have this opportunity to represent Grant Thornton and representing The Bahamas in something that I feel we all should be involved in,” Dr. Hepburn said.

The hotline numbers are 322-2763 or 422-2763.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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