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Although many persons are of the view that more men are committing suicide on Saint Lucia, Charge Nurse of the Mental Wellness Centre Jana Felix said this may not be the case.
Felix, who appeared on News Maker Live programme with Timothy Poleon on Wednesday, said that men are more successful at suicide.
“They use more lethal methods than females,” she said.
The health care worker noted that most females who have committed suicide would take pills. And in doing so, if that person is found within a certain period, the likelihood of them dying is slim.
However, someone is likely to die faster by hanging, gunshot injury to the head and ingestion of a poisonous substance, all of which most men do when attempting suicide.
“In Saint Lucia the preferred poisonous substance is gramoxone and more than likely, once you ingest that substance you will die,” Felix stated.
Another factor behind men committing suicide is, in many societies, expressing emotions, for example sadness, fear, disappointment or regret, is seen as being less acceptable for boys than girls.
This cultural stereotype is very difficult to shake off, though more men are now opening up to others.
In providing some statistics, Felix said there has been six recorded cases of suicide so far this year, while in 2015 there were 7 cases (all males). In 2012 and 2014, Saint Lucia recorded 13 cases each, the highest in 10 years.
Meanwhile, the charge nurse said the word ‘depression’ is often used in everyday language to mean straightforward and understandable unhappiness, but the word should be reserved for those who have significant and pervasive lowering of mood leading to difficulties in leading a normal life.
Such conditions can vary from a lifelong predisposition to low mood (known as dysthymia) to depressive episodes that vary in intensity from relatively mild to severe.This according to her, is one of the major risk factors for suicide.
In addition to that, persons diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or personality disorder often times attempt or become successful at committing suicide.
Felix said the time has come for a change in attitude when it comes to how people respond to depression.
“As a society we need to be less judgmental and more empathetic to those individuals. Gone are the days when we were our brothers keeper, when we looked out for each other. We have become a very selfish society.”
She continued, “Almost every suicide is preventable. Ninety percent of suicides are preventable, so that is 9 of 10. Those are 9 useful, fruitful lives that we can have,” she noted.
The media was also reminded of the important role it could play when it comes to educating the public about the services and help they can get for themselves, their family or friends.
Felix urged media entities to be mindful of how they report on suicides, saying, “A successful suicide would affect other people contemplating suicide and we must be careful.”
The World Health Organisation says every 40 seconds someone in the world takes their own life.
Persons are being advised to give a listening ear to anyone who might need it.