ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A psychotherapist is warning the Caribbean Diaspora to heed the telltale signs of depression, after the issue of suicide came to the fore with the death of Kittitian entertainer Masud Sadiki, who reportedly took his own life.
“One of the things that often happens, especially in our Caribbean cultural setting, is that (when) a person talks of suicide or death, we tend to sometimes laugh it off and say, ‘stupidness you talking about’, and then they feel guilty as a result of the conversation being downplayed,” said psychotherapist Jean-Machelle Benn-Dubois in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
The therapist revealed that the cultural reaction to suicide in the Caribbean is different from that of “more developed countries” such as the United States, citing the wider availability of suicide awareness education in those populations.
“In the Caribbean setting, perhaps, where we have not been sensitised as much, there is not a lot of information out there,” she said. “We tend not to take statements of hopelessness very seriously.”
Sadiki’s apparent suicide has also bought attention to the plight of men in the region who suffer from depression and may be on the verge of taking their own lives.
“We also tend to downplay, especially if it is coming from a man,” Benn-Dubois said.
“(We) make the man feel less of a man or inferior to talk of such things, which, interestingly, may be one of the reasons why men are more likely to commit suicide than females. Females attempt it more, but men tend to be more successful.”
The psychotherapist said that signs of depression may include changes in sleeping habits and changes in behaviour that indicate a loss of interest or withdrawal from normal activities.
Kevin Donovan, also known as Masud Sadiki, was found hanging from a tree near his home in St Kitts on May 21. The 37-year-old reggae and soca artist was laid to rest on June 6. Left to mourn are his wife Charmaine and two children.
Kittitian police have ruled out foul play and a pathologist’s report noted that his death was caused by asphyxia due to hanging.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)