Guyana president calls emergency meeting on suicide prevention

President David Granger says he will implement a national programme in an effort to address the high rate of suicides in the country.

He made the announcement on Thursday at an emergency meeting called following yet another suicide on Wednesday. 

“I am concerned as President that Guyana has a higher rate of suicide than other countries. It is not as though there is an average around the world and we are just average. We are above average and that is disturbing,” Granger said.

During the meeting, the President was also updated on the implementation of Guyana’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy, launched by the Ministry of Public Health, last September, with a view to ramping up Government’s response to the on-going problem.  In addition, the President was provided with updates on work being done within the other subject Ministries.

The outcome of the meeting is a plan of action, which will see Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Religious organisations and other Civil Society organisations being engaged to work together with Government on a centralised approach to suicide prevention.

The President  urged parents, guardians, teachers and church leaders to be more sensitive and understanding of the emotional matters that affect young people.

“The church needs to be more careful, the home needs to be more careful, peers need to be more careful.  It is a delicate period but the state cannot bear the full burden of counselling, the home is where these matters should be resolved.”

Granger  affirmed that his Administration intends to do all that is possible especially since many of the victims of this scourge are young people in whose hands the country’s future lies.

He added that the circumstances and conditions under which people live needs to be examined to understand the underlying factors responsible for the high suicide rate. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Guyana, has a suicide rate four times the global average, ahead of North Korea, South Korea, and Sri Lanka.

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