As the month of September comes to a close, let us endeavour to be active in our suicide prevention efforts by “Creating Action through Hope”.
We are all facing unprecedented times with COVID-19 and its impact on our mental health. Our children are not exempt from these challenges.
Research shows an increase in depressive symptoms from 5% to 6.2%, particularly, among black females in the United States and a 34% increase in suicidal thoughts among adolescent females since the pandemic.
In Jamaica, pre-COVID-19 figures show that 42% of attempted suicides treated at hospitals were children and 53% of U-Report respondents had considered suicide.
With the challenges of missing out on social interactions, increased mental health challenges across the nation and a strain on public mental health facilities for children, parents and caregivers should take an active role in learning more about suicide in children and suicide prevention.
Suicide Prevention Month is focused on sharing knowledge about and bringing awareness of suicide. It also focuses on how to support someone with suicidal thoughts and efforts to prevent suicide.
The aim is to break down the stigma of talking about suicide by creating avenues for discussions, empathy and courage.
If you or your child(ren) have been affected by suicide and need further help, please check the resources below.
Ministry of Health and Wellness Suicide Prevention Tips
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has partnered with UNICEF to provide suicide prevention tips messages through U-Report. Through this programme, young people can send and receive messages on their mobile phones. The Ministry has also set up a Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Helpline. Click here for more information about these services.
Choose Life International (C.L.I.)
Choose Life International aims to provide support and empowerment to schools, churches, businesses, and the wider community in the prevention of suicide, among teens, children and adults. C.L.I. offers one-to-one counselling, group counselling and telephone counselling. They provide counselling support for adolescents, children, adults and families.