Categorized | National News

Bahamians Warned of Suicide Crisis

As World Suicide Prevention Day kicked off yesterday, Health Minster Dr. Duane Sands made the opening address to Sandilands’s Rehabilitation Center’s Suicide Prevention Symposium urging Bahamians to pay close attention to their loved ones. 

According to global statistics, approximately one million people die from suicide, and this translates to one suicidal death every 40 seconds. 

In fact, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) predicted that in two years the rate of death by suicide will increase to one every 20 seconds. 

Dr. Sands said, “these figures are not meant to cause alarm or panic. They are meant to strike the critical need for each and every one of us to sit up and pay attention.

“Let’s sit up and pay attention to the warning signs that a friend or loved one may be contemplating suicide, or maybe that we ourselves may be harbouring thoughts of suicide. 

“The theme, ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’, is perfectly fitting when it come to the actual work that must be done if we are going to reduce the rate of suicide in The Bahamas.”, he said. 

Experts say signs of a loved one that may be at risk are often unclear and difficult to interpret. 

Dr. Sands said, “Some people facing suicidal crisis may not appear obviously distressed. Others  may show changes in behaviour and nothing alarming or even indicative of the personal crisis that precedes suicide.”

He added, “then, there are others who openly talk about taking their own lives, but some of us just push it aside as drama or as attention seeking behavior.

“It is usually a combination of factors that leads to suicide. It could be debt, living alone or loneliness, bereavement, bullying, a breakdown in the family structure from divorce or death. All of these things can play a part,” said  Dr. Sands.

While many may find discussing suicide difficult, similarly those contemplating suicide are trapped by silence.

He said, “Information sharing is a key in our collective approach, and we must be our brother and sisters’ keeper. This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day theme should be more than a slowly forgotten slogan, but it should become a creed to live by.”

The Minister said, “It should inspire us to take care of our neighbours, to take care of  our friends, to take care of our family, to take care of our colleagues, and anyone that we come into contact with.”

The symposium featured presentations from health care professionals, law enforcement, urban renewal workers, and community workers.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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