WORLD Suicide Prevention Day was on Saturday observed with a number of candlelight vigils aimed at sensitizing the nation about this prevalent issue, and to join hands in reducing the high incidence of suicides.The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha held vigils not only across Georgetown, but in Berbice and in parts of Essequibo, among other areas; and at those vigils, the Sabha urged all persons coping with mental health disorders, the loss of loved ones to suicide, survivors of attempted suicide, and even those not directly affected by these issues, to know that there is help available and persons facing these troubles are not alone.
The Miss Global International Guyana Team, which currently has Poonam Singh as its Miss Global International Guyana queen, held a vigil in front of Electronics City, Poonam’s major sponsor. Hashim Alli, member of this team, noted that suicide is at an “all-time high” in Guyana; and though this team’s vigil was attended by only 30 persons, he reassured that Poonam and the Miss Global International Guyana Team would be endeavouring throughout the year to help with reducing the number of suicides.
He also revealed that a schools’ educational programme and a website in this regard would both soon be launched.
The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), in partnership with “Voices Against Violence”, highlighted at its vigil that most LGBT Guyanese are at greater risk of committing suicide because of various issues. SASOD co-founder Joel Simpson noted that the local LGBT community faces a “greater risk” of committing suicide because of the enormous amount of mental health challenges they face daily due to stigma; homophobic and transphobic discrimination; and other related factors, such as intimate partner violence and depression.
Simpson urged all LGBT persons facing these problems to visit SASOD, where help is always available.
Prevention of Teenage Suicide (POTS) Guyana is a programme headed by former Miss Guyana World, Lisa Punch, and generally focuses on helping teenagers. Vice President of POTS Guyana, Ruth English-Wilson, noted that the programme’s candlelight vigil, held at the ‘Cuffy Square’, was to let persons know that POTS is always open to providing assistance.
She also urged all to recognize that suicide is not an issue to be taken lightly.