THIRTY-YEAR-OLD Ted Polius, resident of Desruisseaux, Micoud, was found hanging from his neck at his residence at about 7 pm on Wednesday. This incident has not yet been confirmed as a case of suicide, but police are currently investigating the matter. If confirmed however, this will be recorded as the island’s eighth suicide. The post mortem examination for the late Ted Polius was scheduled for Thursday, 12th December. The result of said examination was not available at the time of this report. Although Saint Lucia recorded three suicides last year, it was a small number compared to the 17 suicides of the previous year.
As part of the suicide prevention initiative, the Ministry of Health and Wellness launched the National Health Helpline back in 2015 to assist persons in dealing with mental, social and emotional issues. The helpline is also commonly referred to as the suicide helpline. The persons on the other end of the helpline are health professionals trained in crisis intervention, especially in assisting persons who struggle with suicidal thoughts.
This helpline is available 24 hours a day and there is always someone there to answer. The professionals on the other end of the hotline will, via telephone, administer psychological first aid to callers who express suicidal ideation. This will take the form of a conversation that is intended to protect the individual from any immediate danger or self-harm. The hotline provides assessments of the individuals’ risks, follow-up calls and professional counselling services. The identities and circumstances of callers remain completely confidential.
Dr. Julius Gilliard, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Ministry of Health, stated earlier this year, “We plan on doing things a little better this year to continue sensitize the public as to the presence of the helpline, and to remind persons that it is there for them in case they are having suicidal thoughts.” The health helpline was reported to be very effective in assisting persons who struggle with suicidal thoughts. The Ministry of Health continues to urge members of the public to make use of the health helpline.