The Mental Health Unit of the Ministry of Health said it has recognised that the rate of self-harm, classified as attempted suicide in Guyana, is more than double the rate of actual suicide cases.
As a result, the Mental Health Unit said it will be embarking on a measure to reduce or even eliminate the instances of attempted suicide and self-harm.
The unit will be implementing a self-harm screening tool that will identify and counsel persons who have attempted suicide or practised self-harm.
The screening toll is a questionnaire which will aid in the fight against suicide.
“We have developed a tool for detecting persons who are indulging in self-harm and we will be piloting it soon, we will be piloting it in three hospitals; West Demerara Regional Hospital, Suddie Hospital and New Amsterdam Hospital.
“The aim is not only to get statistics or to get data; the most important aim is really to treat because when we find these persons we’re going to make sure that they get the treatment that they need,” said the director of the Mental Health Unit, Dr. Util Richmond-Thomas.
According to figures released here, the three region account for more than 50 per cent of the attempted suicide cases in Guyana.
Meanwhile, a recent breakdown of suicide cases per region shows that Region Six accounts for 30.9 per cent of suicide deaths in Guyana while Region Three is second with 22 per cent, and Region Two, 13.4 per cent.
A government statement said that the screening tool will also serve as a data gathering element which will guide the Ministry of Public Health effectively providing services needed to target areas to combat suicide. It must be noted that all information provided by persons taking the questionnaire will be treated.
“For every one suicide there has been about 20 attempts at least, so people practice a lot before they actually get the courage to commit the final act so it means that if we can have good control over the persons who are indulging in self-harm, not only will we improve greatly their quality of life, but we will also make a significant impact on the suicide rate,” said Dr. Richmond-Thomas.
Guyana is reported to have the highest suicide rate, per capita, in the world. Figures show that there are 44.2 suicides per 100,000 people in the country, compared to the global average of 16 per 100,000.
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