(SNO) — Saint Lucia’s largest youth network, Youth Power Group (YPG Saint Lucia), is reporting that there is an increase in students engaging in self-harm on the island due to depression.
The organization said it has visited a number of schools and discovered that the number of young people who are depressed, suicidal, rejected by their parents and “cutting themselves” are on the rise.
“The Youth Power Group has visited three secondary schools and found out that three youth out of ten have cut or are cutting themselves, and what’s more shocking, is that parents are not realizing it,” the organization said in a statement. “We found that this practice is more prevalent with girls ages 14 to 16.”
Pastor Williams, the coordinator of YPG Saint Lucia, is now calling on parents to pay more attention to their children.
“The advice I would like to give to parents are that they should pay more attention to their children and sometimes to check on their arms and wrists because the youth are under pressure, depression, being bullied, and the sad part is that parents are not even aware because sometimes they work very hard and too many hours, and ended up neglecting the family relationship,” Williams said.
The group is advising the education minister “to encourage schools to allow external youth groups to work with students at risk, because they may not be comfortable sharing private information with someone in the school because of confidentiality issues”.
“Make it mandatory for at risk youth to be involved in extracurricular activities which should help to deter negative groups such as gangs. Allow the use of sports and other activities to be done on the schools compound, playground or court on Saturdays and Sundays with the aim of keeping the youth busy,” it said.
YPG Saint Lucia was established with the aim to help young people to become successful.
The group is reporting many success stories among young people on the island.
“We have the story of Stanley Stephen who ran away from home three times but after he got to know the work of the YPG Saint Lucia, he is totally transformed and back home,” the group said. “Another life story that brought amazement to the people of Saint Lucia was Stanice’s Transformation. He hated his mother for no reason and smoking marijuana from the age of fourteen, today he is totally transformed.”