Sun | Feb 17, 2019

St Lucia records significant decline in suicides

Published:Monday | January 14, 2019 | 3:43 PM
File photo

CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – St Lucia recorded a significant decline in suicides in 2018 as compared to the previous year and health authorities have urged people with “suicidal thoughts” to make use of the various initiatives including helplines.

The Department of Health and Wellness said the island recorded three suicides last year compared with 13 in 2017.

“As we noted between 2015 to 2017, there was an average of about seven to eight completed suicides for the year. That was after the National Helpline was started. But in 2017, there was a bump up to 13, which we saw a decrease last year to three,” said consultant psychiatrist, Dr Julius Gilliard, as he examined figures over the past three years.

He said the suicide prevention efforts of the Ministry of Health, especially with the support of the National Helpline and also sensitisation activities, had played a significant role in the decline and that despite the decrease in suicide rates, the department will continue to embark on suicide prevention initiatives.

“We plan on doing things a little better this year to continue to sensitise 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.

“As well, we want to go out a little more to the other communities because, apart from the television ads, our efforts last year were centred mainly in Castries. So we want to go out into the communities to bring help to those people,” he added.

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