A mental health/suicide helpline is to be established in Jamaica by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the non-governmental organization, Choose Life International, to provide support to persons in need of assistance.
The helpline, 1-888-NEW-LIFE, will be toll-free, providing 24-hour assistance to persons with mental health issues seeking help.
Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton, who provided details at a World Suicide Prevention Day Seminar yesterday at the Jamaica Conference Centre, said the helpline will ensure that persons have ready access to a support team, particularly persons suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts.
Dr. Tufton said his Ministry is engaged in several other initiatives to address the issue of suicide.
Child guidance clinics
The Ministry operates Child Guidance clinics, which offer child and adolescent mental health services, and is looking to conduct assessments to facilitate greater access to these services.
There are 20,000 patients on register at adult mental health clinics and 3,500 at child guidance clinics.
Another strategy is the collaboration between the Ministries of Health and Education to train school officials in identifying signs of mental illness among adolescents.