Guyana is the country in the world with the most suicide cases in relation to its population. Photo: John and Elaine Chesterton, Flickr.


Guyana needs new suicide prevention strategies

Every year chooses 800 people around the world to commit suicide.

Guyana is the country that tops the lists when it comes to the proportion of suicide cases in relation to population. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) commits 30 out of 100 people suicide in Guyana. 

Globally, the proportion who commit suicide is significantly lower. On average commits  10 out of 100 people in the world suicide. The proportion of suicide cases in Guyana is thus alarming.

The Guyana government has taken the problem very seriously. Guyana is one of them 28 countries which has introduced a national strategy for suicide prevention based on the WHO report "Suicide prevention: a global imperative"  from 2014. It national strategy for suicide prevention is about identifying individuals or groups who are at greater risk of committing suicide. Children and young adults are particularly important target groups to work with. 

Suicide prevention is not only relevant at the national level, but is also worked on at the local level. The Guyana Foundation works to prevent suicide and improve the mental health of the population. For example, the organization offers health programs to give individuals the opportunity to change their lifestyle by adopting new behaviors and habits.

But is that enough? Probably not. These methods began to be used in October 2016 and the number of suicide cases has not decreased since then. In addition to health programs, it also needs to be investigated why Guyana in particular has such a high number of suicide cases compared to the rest of the world. The national suicide prevention strategy may have failed to identify risk factors for suicide and to offer help in the form of support groups for people who are suicidal. 

In the article Trying To Stop Suicide: Guyana Aims To Bring Down Its High Rate discusses some of the causes that may have given rise to the suicide cases. Factors mentioned include access to lethal chemicals, alcohol abuse, dysfunctional families and the stigma surrounding mental illness. It is these factors that should be prioritized by the government rather than health programs.

Nevertheless, The Guyana Foundation is doing an important job. They contribute with more than just health programs, they also educate people in photography, technology and music. It provides people with mental illness with meaningful activities that increase their self-sufficiency. Such projects, in combination with the government's national strategy for suicide prevention, can hopefully lead to a reduction in the number of suicides.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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