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Preventing Suicide through Communication

Figures reflecting the number of suicide incidents that occurred in Belize over the last ten years are not readily available to us but we can tell you that while we make it a point to not cover stories of suicide, we have come across quite a few reports.  In just a few days, several countries around the globe will be recognizing September 109 as World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).  On the local scene, the Ministry of Health has announced that they will be partnering with the Pan American Health Organization in promoting suicide prevention and demonstrating unity as they both work together in saving lives that would otherwise be lost to suicide.  The release coming out of the Government’s Press Office, reads that in the spirit of this year’s theme – Connect, Communicate, Care – the WSPD flag will be raised on September 9 to connect with the Belizean public on the issue of suicide prevention, to communicate with those who need assistance, and to show that we care about this very important issue.  Flags will be raised in noticeable places in all districts. In Belize City, a flag raising ceremony will be held at the Battlefield Park on September 9 starting at 9:00 am. The release went on to state that the trend over the past five years shows that men between the ages of 25 and 35 are dying more often by suicide related to alcohol abuse. Teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 18 are most often attempting suicide due to interpersonal issues. On the website for the International Association of Suicide Prevention it noted that the World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year.  The tragic ripple effect means that there are many, many more people who have been bereaved by suicide or have been close to someone who has tried to take his or her own life. And this is happening in spite of the fact that suicide is preventable.