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Belize observes World Suicide Prevention day with flag ceremony

World Suicide Prevention Day has been observed on September 10th since 2003.  The Belize Mental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health joined the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to commemorate the day for the past seven years. The Nursing Administrator for the Mental Unit, Nurse Eleanor Bennett said for the second year in a row, the world suicide prevention flag was raised in Belize.

Eleanor Bennet Mental Health Coordinator: “Suicide prevention is a challenge for us at  the Mental Health Unit and the wider Ministry of Health. Of cures the mission of the Ministry of Health is promotion and preservation of health and of course life and we invest a lot in preserving life but for some people living it is not the best option for them of course this concerns us at the Mental Health unit and it concerns us at the Ministry of Health so we have embarked with the invaluable assistance of PAHO to develop a suicide prevention plan which ambitiously seeks to do exactly what the team suggest, To harness the efforts and potentials of all persons including survivors who have a stake in suicide prevention. We do hope to present this plan and when implemented it will reach thousands of Belizean’s that think about suicide as a viable solution to life’s issues but the work of the mental health program in suicide prevention and awareness is on going all over the country from taking and creating numerous opportunities to promote suicide prevention and awareness, providing various forms of treatment including treatment for depression in primary health care and other settings. Two providing support to family members who have lost loved ones to suicide.”

Nurse Bennett spoke about the significance of raising the flag.

Eleanor Bennet Mental Health Coordinator: “So today at this event we raise a flag for many reasons: the first one is to draw attention to and hopefully prompt people especially those experiencing suicidal thoughts to begin a discussion about suicide and a discussion about getting help. We are also raising this flag as a symbol of our never ceasing battle to end suicide and that is every suicide if we can. We raise the flag to alert people that there is danger ahead and that’s why you raise flags to tell people that there is danger ahead and in this case the danger is not paying attention to your mental health and not acknowledging the existence of mental illnesses such as depression which often leads persons to think about suicide and lastly we raise this flag today to acknowledge the lives that were lived by those who died by suicide and to their surviving family members who have probably been silenced by stigma and negative judgment to tell them that it it’s okay to talk about your loved ones, it is okay to remember them and it is okay to learn from them.”

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is “Work together to prevent suicide.”