GIS - 12 September, 2013: The World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) normally observed on 10 September each year, was marked yesterday by the launch of a pamphlet on the prevention of suicide for teenagers and a panel discussion at Octave Wiehé Auditorium, Réduit, in the presence of the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions, Mrs. Sheilabai Bappoo. The theme for this year is “Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention”
The WSPD was organised at the initiative of Life Plus Unit of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions whose aim is to mitigate the suffering of persons with suicidal tendencies and help them live their lives differently by giving them the required support to better handle emotional stress, pain and pressure.
Activities organised in this context aim at providing opportunities to Government agencies, organisations, and individuals to promote awareness about suicide, mental illnesses associated with suicide, as well as suicide prevention. The WSPD is an initiative of the International Association against Suicide Prevention, which, along with the World Health Organisation (WHO), plays a key role in promoting this event.
In her address Minister Bappoo underscored the various events and activities being held to raise awareness with regard to suicide, which is a major preventable cause of premature death. The WHO, she recalled, estimates that about one million people around the world die by suicide every year. There are people who feel so low that suicide seems like the only way out but there is always another way - and we can tackle it together, said the Minister.
According to Mrs Bappoo, endless ways exist through which one can make a difference in the lives of people with suicidal tendencies. Suicide is an issue that is still surrounded by fear, shame and silence but by breaking through the barriers of stigma and openly addressing the factors that contribute to suicide, we can all help to prevent it, she added.
“We want people who are despairing and thinking about suicide to know that there is help available. All you need to do is to ask for help whether at the Ministry or from NGOs” she pointed out.
Community Outreach programmes aimed at educating and sensitising community leaders about the urgent need to disseminate information on the services provided by Life Plus Unit and the need to prevent suicide and promote positive living, are also being organised across the island, with the collaboration of the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund. These programmes will be held at the following community centres: Coromandel, Quartier Militaire, Vallee de Pretres, Pont Praslin, Wooton, Trois Boutiques, Plaine Magnien, Pamplemousses, and Petite Retraite.
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