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    Thursday, 11 July 2019 02:46
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Screen_Shot_2014-09-04_at_7.50.25_PMKnown as the ‘silent epidemic’, in today’s society, suicide continues to be a major problem. Suicide is a huge but largely preventable public health problem, causing almost half of all violent deaths and resulting in almost one million fatalities every year, as well as economic costs in the billions of dollars, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Estimates suggest fatalities could rise to 1.5 million by 2020. But on a local scale in Belize, the Ministry of Health is indicating that the suicide rate for the country is 5.3 per 100,000, which is one of the lowest among Central American countries. But according to Eleanor Bennett, Nursing Administrator at the Ministry of Health, a single suicide case is one too many and that it is a serious issue that is related to mental illnesses such as depression.

Eleanor Bennett - Nursing Administrator, MOH

“We know that there are some serious mental issues for example depression sometimes subdue now new treatment exist for these conditions but people don’t come in for treatment quit often but the first thing I would say, if the person is severely depressed it is definitely a serious condition and a very sign that should be taken into consideration but when we talk about immediate warning signs there are several for example some people have written suicide note, sometimes we should go talk to a particular person and say goodbye, some people who might withdraw but other might be very happy because it is a sign that they have made a decision to end their lives so it is different for different people but those are some of the common ones.”

Maria Novelo – Reporter

“Can it be prevented in a sense?”

Eleanor Bennett - Nursing Administrator, MOH

Yes, it is a very preventable form of death because there are usually an underline cause  for suicidal behaviour and that is a mental illness and if the person would reach out for help it is very likely that it can be prevented.”

Maria Novelo – Reporter

“What should I do if someone I know I considering suicide?”

Eleanor Bennett - Nursing Administrator, MOH

“Definitely support, there are some do’s and don’ts; some don’ts would definitely be don’t challenge the person, don’t tell them well go ahead kill yourself if you want to and that is definitely not helpful, do not keep it a secret and definitely the do’s would be that the person would get help, that is the first thing and help could be a councillor in your community, anybody in the behavioural health that can provide some kind of intervention for that person.”

Following its successful launch in 2003, World Suicide Prevention Day, a collaboration between WHO and the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), will be held on 10 September to focus attention and call for global action. The ministry of health is calling on all Belizeans to light a candle near a window in their homes at 8pm on Wednesday, September 10th.

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