Essequibians benefit from mental health outreach

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Mental Health Director Dr Rajkumar and other members of the outreach team at the Anna Regina Car Park/Market attending to residents on Friday

SCORES of residents benefited from a medical outreach that focused on suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse, depression and other mental health illnesses, when a team of doctors and social workers visited the Anna Regina Car Park/Market on Friday.The team was headed by Mental Health Director, Dr Meena Rajkumar, who was satisfied with the work done.

Participants at the training session at the Richard Fikal Training School, Suddie, on Friday
Participants at the training session at the Richard Fikal Training School, Suddie, on Friday

The outreach sought to raise awareness and prevention of suicide and other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse.
According to Dr Rajkumar, the public is eager to acquire information on suicide prevention and some residents called for similar initiatives to be held in schools, and other areas of the region.
Guyana reportedly has the highest suicide rate in the world with 44.2 per cent per 1000 persons, three times the global average of 11.2 per 1000 persons.
In Guyana, one person dies in every 25 suicide attempts. Due to information gathered, the Public Health Ministry has launched awareness programmes in Regions Two, Three, Five and Six to battle the high number of suicide cases.
From information gathered, Region Two is most at risk, followed by Region Six, Region Three and Region Five.
Dr Rajkumar urged parents to connect, communicate and care for their children, pointing out that often people, especially children, yearn for attention and affection, which seems to be lacking from parents and family members.
Everyone, she said, needs someone at times who would listen to them.
“We should all be on the alert for them and to look for unusual signs and symptoms that may contribute to suicide and other mental health problems. We should encourage people to open up, be brave and overcome situations that seem to be difficult. There is always a solution other than suicide. Clinics are being held every fourth Thursday monthly at the Suddie Public Hospital which is being run by herself,” Dr Rajkumar said.
Persons feeling depressed and in need of help can call the Toll Free numbers – 592-223-0001, 592-223-0009, 592-600-7896 or 592 – 623-4444 at any time of the day.
The Public Health Ministry is willing to partner and collaborate with non- governmental organisations, faith-based organisations and community-based organisations in order to tackle suicide. The ministry can be reached at via email psychdept@yahoo.com and more information can be had on the facebook page of the Mental Health Unit.
The outreach team also concluded a training session at the Richard Fikal Police Training School at Suddie, which attracted more than 60 persons, including police officers, pastors and non-governmental organisations.
The training was geared to equip the participants to competently respond to handling persons with mental health issues.
Residents are urged to tune in to the Essequibo local television station between 19:00hrs to 20:00hrs tonight for more information from the outreach team.
The team also comprised Cuban Psychiatrist, Dr Carmen Perez; Cuban Psychologist, Marianela Fonseca; Dr Elizabeth Nickram of the Georgetown Public Hospital and Social Worker Sharron Ramkarran of the Mental Health Unit