Stigma is barrier to suicide prevention, say officials

| 10/09/2013

(CNS): Cayman joins many countries in supporting World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) today, as officials focus on removing the stigma which begins with the support of families, healthcare providers, employers, and, by-and-large, the community. The Health Services Authority’s (HSA’s) Psychiatrist, Dr Arline McGill, said suicidal behaviours are often looked down upon. The Public Health Department is organising activities this week to address that and the international theme of "Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention". Events will focus on strengthening persons’ mental, physical and spiritual wellness, while at the same time reducing the stigma associated with this mental health condition.

Encouraging public participation, the minister responsible for health, Osbourne Bodden said, “On World Suicide Prevention Day I hope that communities across the Cayman Islands will encourage co-workers, family and friends to help promote hope and resiliency and reduce the number of persons suffering from suicidal behaviour.”

Held at St Matthew University, the various events will kick off on Wednesday, 11 September at 6:30 p.m. with The Challenge of Being Happy – academic discussions in surviving suicide and overcoming chronic sadness. Refreshments will also be available.

On the following day, Thursday 12 September at 5:30 p.m. at Mary Miller Hall, a community empowerment public forum: Moving On will explore life after attempted-suicide, including those it affects (self and families) and how they survive. Related discussions will also target the stigma surrounding suicide andencourage these persons to reach forward to happiness.

Later, on Friday, 13 September at 6:30 p.m. at the Family Worship Centre, the Art & Science of Happiness event will help tertiary level students, as well as teens leaving high school, to better appreciate themselves and the experiences that help to make them unique; to accept and work through unresolved issues which may make them unhappy; and to enable them to make physical, emotional and spiritual choices that will increase their happiness.

The activities are intended to give families – and the general public – the tools they need to thrive and be safer. The intention is to help people strengthen their community connections, promoting conversations about mental wellness, and to know how community members can help, protect and care for each other during times of crisis.

Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, especially among young people. Nearly one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a large proportion of people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness. Recent estimates suggest that the disease burden caused by mental illnesses will account for 25% of the total disease burden in the world in the next two decades, making it the most important category of ill-health.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Psychiatrists are trained that suicides are the enemy and they have to work with people to help them to avoid a suicide. People think that death is the enemy, not just suicide. They push so hard against this thing they know is inevitable and when someone dies through any reason it amplifies their sense of mortality.   They think about death as final, when we are eternal beings.  When someone is really really reaching for joy and they are in a place where they feel that they cannot get to it, then death is not such a terrible choice. Here is that person who has been in a horrible place of depression, suffocating in it, they don’t know what to do about it, they seem can’t get out of it and then they turn to drugs or alcohol or something that gives them some relief and the society condemns them. So the worse it gets the worse it gets for them.  Then a counselor tells  them: Here you are, in a terrible mess and you should not be in that terrible mess and instead of guiding them from depression into better a feeling emotion, something like anger and complimenting them for the improvement in a way they feel, the society itself wants that person to perform right now in a way that will make society feel better. So  you are not allowed to steal, you are not allowed to wreck your car, not allowed to drive drunk and hurt somebody else  and we don’t really give a rip how you feel , we only care how you impact society. That is basically what psychological community and medical and enforcement communities saying to people- we don’t care how you feel, you have got yourself in such a mess, you might  hurt somebody else, so we just going to torture and punish you instead of trying to help you feel better. And sometime they want so much to feel better that the only recourse they have is that  something that is very dramatic. When insteadthey could be saying- I don’t know how you got yourself into this mess, but here you are in quite a mess, and bless your heart you do not deserve to be in a mess  and I really like to help you get out of the mess, so let see if we can find something that feels better than where you are, and when they explode to their anger, instead of them condemning them for their anger which will make them turn right back to the  depression, it is a vicious circle where  they go from depression to anger, depression to anger until they get exhausted  and want to put a gun to their head. And if you can help them feel the anger and applaud them for the progress and give them the sense of empowerment that they have taken a step toward of what they are wanting to feel, and they consciously acknowledge that  and now they can take another and another step. There are too many psychological programs that do not even allow them to take the first step because there is so much condemnation about where they are that just keep them spinning in that circle where they can’t get out.  You can't get from depression to joy in one step, there are many steps on emotional scale. Each feels better than depression and fear.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Widespread misconception about mental illness being a cause of a suicide. The same goes about mental illness itself. What people who call themselves doctors  do not understand or can expain, they call mentall illness. 

  3. William Wallace says:

    Until Employers start to realize this, people are going to jump! Example they even change their names from personnel department to now human resources. It's like humans are now cows, the commodization of people. This is why there's  no loyalty in the work place and its all about the bottom line……XXXX?

  4. Anonymous11 says:

    Speaking about stigma. What about that sex offender's list that is being recommended?  Isn't it stigmatizing a person if he is innocent. Imagine living everyday of your life with the stigma that you are a sex offender when you are not. People won't accept you anymore – why live? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comment has nothing to do with the story.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the sex offender's registry that is being recommended is for convicted sex offenders. Crime ought to have stigma attached to it. That is a part of deterrence. What is being discussed here is being stigmatised because of your illness, not because you are a criminal.