SUICIDE Prevention Day, commemorated worldwide on September. 10, was formally launched in Saint Lucia last Sunday, at the Temple of Faith Pentecostal Church in Odsan, under the theme “Preventing Suicide – Reaching Out Saving Lives.”
According to Dr. Naomi Jn Baptiste, Consultant Psychiatrist at the National Mental Wellness Centre, communities need to pay greater attention to the mental health and wellness of those who appear to be mentally disturbed. She explained the various mental illnesses that someone may suffer from.
“There is neurotic mental illness [that is manifested via] cases of depression and anxiety; and there is psychotic mental illness which is what people are more familiar with. Neurotic mental illness is what usually leads to suicide.”
Dr. Jn Baptiste added that families need to be aware that anxiety, panic, and post traumatic stress disorders are also forms of mental illness which are manifest via social withdrawal, decreased appetite, loss of sleep or excessive sleep.
Director of Turning Point, Joanna Joseph said that the spiritual commencement of Suicide Prevention Week is because health is holistic, thus the spiritual aspect is just as important. The aim, she added, is to make the society more aware of the plight of persons who suffer emotional conditions.
“We want to bring persons attention to the fact that depression is treatable and that suicide is preventable,” she said. “There are services available in every community, and there are several wellness centres. The Mental Wellness Centre is a place that we should feel free to access services. Turning Point is available as well for those who may have conditions involving drugs or alcohol.”
The Ministry of Health also launched recently a 203 helpline for 24-hour help, support, and crisis intervention.