Categorized | National News

Suicide Causes Major Concern

Suicide in the country is a major concern for the Ministry of Health, after the STEPS Survey 2019, revealed that 6.3 percent of Bahamians have considered suicide. 

Revealing the preliminary results of that survey, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, on Tuesday, said that percentage accounted for 17,000 Bahamians. 

“In this study that 6.3 percent of the population seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year,” Dr. Sands said.

“That’s over 17,000 adult Bahamians, 2.6 percent actually made a plan to do so.” 

According to the survey, almost 2 percent of Bahamians have a family member who committed suicide. 

However, while Dr. Sands could not say whether mental health is a contributing factor, he opined that The Bahamas is “a bit of a pressure cooker”.

“We’ve got a whole lot of stress. Financial stress, emotional stress, family stress add to that mental health illnesses and one of the things that we are also concerned about is the relationship between what we eat and the expression of certain genetically predetermined factors,” Dr. Sands said.

“You put that all together and shake it up and manifestations of suicide, homicide [and] assault now becomes a very real issue.” 

In April of this year, Keva Bethell, director of research and training at the Allen Institute, said it was found that there were 96 cases of suicide between 2000 and 2013. 

That is equivalent to a rate of 2.1, which means that about two out of 100,000 Bahamians have taken their own lives. 

Dr. Sands, meantime, said when one looks at the number of persons who actually committed acute suicide, although the numbers are “relatively low,” there is still need for concern.

“To note that there are a number of people who have considered it and have actually planned it, when you put that in the context of the recent seeming spate of suicides, I think we have to be very concerned,” Dr. Sands said.

“Now, mental health services in The Bahamas are not where they ought to be. We have a very long way to go to develop community health programmes to the level that they should be.

“We have identified that as one of our priorities, but we have a very long way to go.” 

Back in March this year, police investigated two suicides in one weekend. 

In the first seven months of 2019 there have been six suicides, the youngest a juvenile male in July. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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