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National Suicide Prevention Plan 2015-2020

Ministry of Public Health Guyana Country Resources Suicide Prevention Guyana December 2014 Policy document

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Description

Suicide is a major issue for society and a leading cause of years of life lost. In May 2013, the sixty-sixth World Health Assembly adopted the first ever Mental Health Plan of the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the WHO, Suicide prevention is an integral aspect of the plan with the goal of reducing the rate of suicide in countries by 10% by 2020. There is a combination of reasons why people die by suicide. However, many suicides happen impulsively and if the correct measures are instituted, many suicides are preventable.

In light of this call to action by the World Health Assembly, mental health including suicide was given prominence in the service priorities of the National Health Sector Plan 2013-2020 which has as its vision “that the people of Guyana are among the healthiest in the Caribbean and the Americas”. The Suicide Prevention Strategy 2015-2020 was informed by wide stakeholder consultation which included representatives from civil society, government ministries, Non-governmental organizations, health administrators, general health professionals, community and institutional based mental health care providers.

The strategy includes goals, principles, objectives and lines of actions in order to identify the specific high-risk individual and groups for whom a tailored approach to their mental health need is necessary for reduced suicide risk.

The strategy incorporates activities across the continuum of suicide prevention supporting:

• Universal interventions which aim to engage the whole of a population to reduce access the means reduce inappropriate media coverage of suicide and to foster stronger and more supportive communities and schools.
• Selective interventions which aim to work with groups and communities who are identified as being at higher risk of suicide. Providing face to face response service for those bereaved by suicide, training for front line emergency response services in the community and coordination of suicide response services.
• Indicated interventions which target individuals who are showing signs of symptoms that are strongly associated with suicide or are in circumstances that place them at highest risk of suicide. For example, Suicide Prevention Helpline a telephone and peer support network for those with suicide ideation and suicide attempt.

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