NASSAU, Bahamas, Sept 11 – A recent study of suicide in The Bahamas shows that many people residing here have considered taking their own lives.
Acting Managing Director of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), Mrs. Hannah Gray, said the study also indicated that young males were seven times more likely to commit suicide than women in the same age-group.
The study was conducted noted Bahamian psychiatrist, Dr. David Allen.
“This startling reality should underscore the importance of effectively educating and equipping key persons in the public service, healthcare systems, schools, law enforcement and our communities and neighbourhoods to deal with suicide and attempted suicide,” Gray told a symposium on Suicide Prevention.
Bahamas Thursday joined the international community in observing Suicide Day and while Gray did not disclose exact figure, she said that “the symposium was “an essential public health education tool” that will empower persons who have direct contact with those persons at-risk for self-harm.
“It will provide the skills necessary to recognize those who may be vulnerable to suicide and attempted suicide and to intervene and refer those in crisis for appropriate support and specialist services,” she added.
Gray said the symposium, hosted by the Ministry of Health, the Public Hospitals Authority, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, was one of a number of initiatives by the government as it continues to address suicide prevention and reduction.
Mental health officials say shame, which is fueled by stigma and negative misconceptions of individuals who suffer from psychiatric or psychological disorders, is a barrier to treatment “for far too many people who may otherwise benefit from mental health services”.
Health Minister Dr. Michael Perry Gomez said. “by definition, suicide is a preventable cause of death and social scientists, mental health professionals, religious organizations and concerned citizens are committed to research, interventions and treatment which will decrease incidents of suicide and attempted suicide”.