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The Caribbean Voice Welcomes Suicide Help Lines In Guyana

News Americas, Mon. Aug.3, 2015:  The Caribbean Voice and its partners have welcomed the announcement by Guyana’s Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, that the police force will be launching suicide help lines.

“If our understanding is correct, these help lines would be located at every police station and manned 24/7 by trained personnel,” Caribbean Voice said in a statement. “Indeed that is how it should be as a single centralized help line has already proven to be an exercise in futility.”

But the organization warned that personnel manning the help lines must be trained to employ empathetic communication to ensure that callers feel comfortable and connected. They must also display basic knowledge of warning signs in order to quickly and easily pin down the factors that may have led to a call.

The group also very strongly urged that faith-based counselors must be provided with basic clinical training and not be left to fall back only on the faith based approach.

“We strongly suggest that faith based counselors must be drawn from all three major faiths – Christianity, Hinduism and Islam – as it is critically important not to impose faith based counselors of one religion on those who subscribe to other religions, especially given that in their moments of abject desperation a ray of familiarity has a far greater probability of shining through,” the Caribbean Voice said.

They also urged the Police Commissioner and line minister to ensure that vehicles to pick up counselors are always available.

The Guyana Police Commissioner has also revealed that the force would have had the input of doctors providing training to the pastors and police ranks who will be involved in the project.

The Caribbean Voice cautioned that this should mean psychologists and counselors and not medical doctors, unless the latter are professionally equipped to provide training in counseling and suicide prevention strategies.

The Caribbean Voice and other stakeholders have also pointed out the nexus between suicide on the one hand and other pathologies such as abuse, (especially domestic and child abuse), rape, incest, alcoholism and drugs, and we strongly suggest that help lines would be more effective, as a suicide prevention tool, if the collaborative process engages relevant stakeholders to address these other issues as well.

The Caribbean Voice will be organizing an all-day National Stakeholders’ Conference on suicide and related issues on August 21st in Guyana, in collaboration with Cara Hotel, Save Abee Foundation, Office Resources Inc, CADVA, Monique’s Helping Hands and a number of other entities. There is no registration fee.

And, on August 22, in collaboration with Cara Hotel, The Caribbean Voice will launch the El Dorado Awards to honor advocates, activists and affirmation agents, while extending the conversation on suicide and related issues to embrace the business and professional communities.

The awards will include a cocktail reception and a cultural interlude and honorees are drawn from throughout Guyana – individuals and organizations that have been making a difference. Tickets are G$7,000 each and only 50 tickets will be sold. For tickets call Bibi at 621-6111 or 223-2637 or email  bibiahamad1@hotmail.com, caribvoice@aol.com or gtposse72.com.