The St. Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre joined the rest of the world recently in recognizing World Suicide Prevention Day on under the theme “Connect, Communicate, Care”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt
Principal Nursing Officer at the Mental Wellness Centre, Glenda Cepal, advocates for more community involvement in tackling the issue of suicide in St. Lucia.
“We would like to urge all persons to connect with people. We know people who have committed suicide and their families are suffering. We also know people with suicidal behaviour or thoughts. We want people to render support, to communicate with them, to have that open channel of communication so that they can share what they are going through. And in order for you to connect with them, you will have to communicate that you care about these people.”
Suicide Prevention Day activities commenced with a church service at the Maranatha SDA Church last Saturday, followed by a march from Serenity Park to the Derek Walcott Square and culminated with a two-hour concert organized by the St. Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre in collaboration with Rizen FM.
Executive Director for Mental Health Services, Charmaine Hippolyte-Thomas, highlighted the reason for the concert.
“We are having an empowerment concert and there are a number of people to perform. All in all, their performances have encouraging words: words to uplift, words to edify and words to just say to people to hold on despite the many challenges that one could face in life and that there is always an answer to challenges.”
She added: “Speaking of challenges, we have a number of places where people can go to get the kind of support that they need, for example, the Human Service organizations, the 203 line at the Wellness Centre, and also counselors and priests and pastors. Even your very own family members. So the message we really want to share with St. Lucia is each one watch one. Communicate, connect and care and in so doing we can actually save not just a life but many lives.”
The first World Suicide Prevention Day was held in 2003 as an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO). Since then, World Suicide Prevention Day has been observed on September 10 each year.