As part of its efforts to address the country’s high suicide rate, the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) is now offering the services of an on-site counselor at its Georgetown office.
In a recent statement, SASOD said that in solidifying steps to address the situation, there is an on-site counselor who would be available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for counselling sessions at its office.
SASOD’s office is located at 203 Duncan Street, Lamaha Gardens, Georgetown, and its office hours are from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Friday. However, the organisation’s Homophobia(s) Education Coordinator Anil Persaud told this newspaper that persons interested in counselling are advised to make an appointment by calling the SASOD office at 225-7283 or 623-5155.
The SASOD statement noted that through sensitisation and practical observances like its recent World Suicide Prevention Day Vigil, held at its office on Saturday, September 9, the organisation hopes to encourage a more serious discussion of the issue to initiate more strategic mechanisms by both governmental and civic stakeholders to address the inequalities, which it said are at the root of the suicide epidemic in Guyana.
The SASOD vigil, the statement said, was held under the theme “Take a Minute, Change a Life” and saw the guest speaker, attorney and Chairperson of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation Board of Directors, Kesaundra Alves highlighting the seriousness of depression and mental illness. “Survivors are crying out loudly for help and will only reach out for support if they feel safe and protected by the laws,” she was quoted as saying in reference to the need for the decriminalisation of attempted suicide in Guyana.
It was noted that the need for protection and security by laws and entities put in place to assist those battling with depression lingered in the suicide note left behind by former Board Secretary of SASOD and human rights and LGBT activist Zenita Temall Nicholson. The letter was read at the vigil by founder and Managing Director of SASOD, Joel Simpson.
The statement added that in keeping with the theme of the event, members of the gathering took some time to voice their understanding and experiences of suicide and the evening ended with the lighting of candles, a minute of silence for all the lives lost to suicide and a pledge to aid in the prevention of suicide.