If the authorities were serious about tackling suicide they would set up more counselling centres

Dear Editor,

On Friday, April 11, I visited Zeelugt Village on the East Bank of Essequibo and whilst socializing with a few friends, I learnt of another suicide.

This was another young taxi driver. Interestingly enough, one of my distant relatives posted up a Suicide Information Table of Contents on his Facebook page from the Healthyplace website (www.healthyplace.com) that same afternoon. Looking up the website I see it’s a mental health site that provides information and advice for those who are affected mentally; how we can assist someone else and the many reasons why someone commits suicide or wants to do so. The information on the website is very informative, and the causes of suicide are broken down into different categories. I would urge everybody to visit the website.

It is not a secret that our country has an alarmingly high suicide rate and that many suicides occur when the person is under the influence of alcohol, as in the latest case. If you are inquisitive like I am, you will learn that a number of these suicides could be prevented by family members, some of whom choose to add fuel to the fire instead, and then cry and ask why? Alcohol abuse, just like substance abuse seems to put the user in a different world, and people have to learn how to treat the users differently when they are in that state as opposed to when they are sober.

One of his friends was working and advised him, but when he finished his drop-off and returned, he couldn’t locate him. Later he received a call about the young man’s suicide at the taxi base from which all of them operate. Many people who knew him, would say how happy he always was, but a few of those close to him would talk about the problems he faced. Many of us would take it for granted because we might be facing something similar or might not be feeling the mental pain the person is feeling, and at the end we would say if only we had known.

If you ask anyone if they are aware of anywhere you could go or where you could call if you are in need of counselling or advice, they will answer you in the negative. If those in authority are serious, there should be more centres established, more publicity about the help centres, pamphlets with  advice, etc – not letters that the Minister of Housing sends to people begging for their support of the 2014 budget and criticizing the APNU and AFC.

If we stay quiet and choose to ignore the facts, sooner or later we might have to deal with a similar situation.

Yours faithfully,
Sahadeo Bates

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