Teachers and students at the Bartica Secondary School dormitory are in shock after they awakened on Thursday morning to find the body of a male teacher hanging in one of the dormitories.
The dead man, Romel Benjamin, 20, of Moruca, North West District, had been teaching remedial classes at the school for the past two years.
According to another teacher, who shared the dorm with Benjamin, no one was aware of him having any issues which might have led to him committing suicide.
The teacher recounted that on Wednesday night everything appeared normal and Benjamin went to bed around 12 am.
Just after 2.30 am, the teacher, who had been up assisting students with assignments, retired to bed. He recalled seeing Benjamin asleep. The dormitory where the man hanged himself was being shared with two other male teachers and the beds are situated close to each other. Students are also housed in the same building.
The teacher stated that when he awakened around 6 am, he observed that Benjamin missing from his bed. Since Benjamin would usually not rise until very late in the morning, it was a surprise that he was already up, the teacher said. However, immediately after, the shocking discovery was made of Benjamin’s body hanging from the wall.
The cord which Benjamin used, according to the teacher, had been tied to the wall of the room recently and was intended to be used as a clothes line.
An alarm was raised and the police were called and they subsequently removed the body. Benjamin is expected to be laid to rest today.
Last month, Public Health Minister Dr George Norton had said that there were plans for a short-term and long-term plan to be developed in collaboration with the ministries of Social Protection and Education to address suicide in the Region Seven. His comments came after a visit to the region after it as recognised that there was a trend of students at the Bartica Secondary School and other schools in the region attempting suicide.
“I would like the Ministry of Social Protection to come in and take part because I would like these issues to be addressed at the societal level,” Norton had said, while noting that statistics showed that Region Seven has several issues which need to be addressed at that level.
According to statistics from the National Suicide Prevention Plan 2015-2020, the age group most affected by suicide is the 12 to 18 range, which accounted for 30% of attempted suicides.
The plan also notes that the most common risk factor for suicide and attempted suicide is acute emotional distress and depression, which accounts for 36.6% of attempted suicides. These and other statistics have led to the plan recommending a “tailored approach to the mental health of several groups is necessary for the suicide risk to be reduced.”