Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Be kind to persons at suicide risk

Published:Friday | June 3, 2016 | 12:00 AMTHE EDITOR, Sir:

There was a story carried on the newscasts of TVJ and CVM on the evening of June 1, 2016, where it was reported that an 18-year-old man climbed to the top of the May Pen bridge where he threatened to commit suicide.

Inspector Owen Brown, who appears to be a very professional and caring officer from the May Pen Police Station, gave an interview where he said that the man was undergoing family issues and felt neglected to the point that he felt the only way out was to take his own life.

Depression and other serious mental-health issues are likely to overwhelm us, especially in these poverty-stricken times where, inter alia, jobs are scarce; families are divided because of disagreements; there may be no one to entrust with our feelings and sensitive situation; and we feel alone.

That is what obtains for many persons in Jamaica today. The sad reality is that this is furthered by the selfishness and arrogance of others who may be in a better position to give some direction or support, but neglect to do so.

During the incident, there was a woman who gave an interview that she was inconvenienced because she had to walk a few metres when she paid her full fare to be taken to her destination, because the police was in control of the scene.

She expressed no commiseration for the young man whose precious life was at risk; her only care was to get her fare's worth. Clearly, getting to her destination was more important than exercising some patience and trying to save a life. What a heartless and selfish set of people we can be!

I was heartened to learn that the police and the health professionals were on the scene in a timely manner, and that they were able to negotiate with the distraught man who is obviously in need of help, and prevented him from taking his life.

We must learn to be selfless and show support to our fellow citizens, especially in times of distress. Simple communication and a listening ear could make a world of a difference in the lives of troubled persons.