Categorized | National News


Suicide is becoming more prevalent in The Bahamas than ever before. 

According to Keva Bethell, Director of Research and Training at the Allen Institute,  it was found that there were 96 cases over a 14 year period, from 2000 to 2013. That is a rate of 2.1, which means that about two out of 100,000 Bahamians have killed themselves.

She said out of the 96, the rate of males was more than seven times that of  the rate among females; 83 of the cases were male victims and 13 of the cases were female victims.  

The most prevalent method was hanging.  More than half of them hung themselves, which was followed by gunshot wounds. There were others who over-dosed, some used asphyxiation, falls and drowning. The men used more lethal methods to kill themselves and therefore succeed. Women do attempt suicide, but some call a friend and tell them that they’ve just tried to end their lives, and the friend usually comes to their rescue before they actually die.”

Dr. Bethell explained, “One of the leading causes of suicide is the feeling of shame and when one struggles with high expectations versus reality – when they come to the realization that they can’t live up to certain expectations, in an actuality, they can’t achieve our dreams.” When a man, usually the major bread-winner of the home, loses his job, his home, his way of  lifethat they see as normal, and they don’t know how to cope thereafter, to find a way to be creative, they are stuck in this one way of thinking and living, and they don’t know what to do with themselves. 

“Another driving factor was some people don’t know how to deal with the ending of romantic relationships. Isolation, loneliness and depression are factors that can lead to suicide, as well as mental health issues such as bi-polar,” she said. 

Dr. Bethell said someone contemplating suicide is not dealing so much with hurt, they are dealing with shame, most of the time.  Hurt turns into anger, and when this strikes the brain, the shame gap occurs.

“In the study, the rate was highest among  in males 35 to 44 year olds, that’s the age where there’s a gap between your expectations, what’s expectations what’s expected of your life, what a person may think, or even what society may think is expected from one’s life, versus reality, what one’s life really is. And that gap is what a lot of young adults cannot deal with,” said Dr. Bethell.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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