Berbice workshop focuses on suicide and its symptoms
Need for distress centre pointed out

Stabroek News
September 6, 2000

First Lady Varshnie Jagdeo has expressed the hope that the public would be made aware of the signs and symptoms of suicidal persons and render assistance when necessary.

Declaring open a four-day workshop to analyse the causes of suicide, identify pre-suicidal signs and tendencies, and train counsellors, Mrs Jagdeo noted the prevalence of suicide particularly in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) and said she hoped the workshop would bring about a decline in the incidence of suicide.

The workshop, which concluded last Friday at the Skills Centre on the Upper Corentyne, was sponsored by the Number 68 Road Side Baptist Church in conjunction with the Building Community Capacity Project (BCCP).

Among the topics discussed were the relationship between domestic violence, alcohol abuse and suicide; the physical anguish of the suicide victim and the unlawfulness of suicide.

Resource personnel were drawn from the health, social and legal professions and they included Sylvia Conway, coordinator of the Drop-In Centre for street children; Ann-Marie Chagnon, country director of BCCP; Dr J. Ragnauth of the Skeldon Hospital; Paulette Henry, social worker and resident tutor at the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education, Berbice Branch; and J. Anamayah, attorney-at-law.

The programme focused on the reduction of suicide and developing an awareness in the society as to the social impact of suicide on the victim, the family and the community. It also analysed the causes of suicide and identified symptoms of the pre-suicidal victim.

Last week at the same venue, a two-day workshop was held under the theme 'Domestic Violence Aware-ness and Training on the Domestic Violence Act'.

The programme focused on identifying symptoms of domestic violence and its effects on victims and family members. It also equipped volunteers with counselling skills to attend to victims of all forms of abuse. Partici-pants discussed mainly eradicating domestic violence in the Upper Corentyne. About 25 persons drawn from the public and private sectors, religious organisations and women's groups emphasized the need for women to be educated on the Domestic Vio-lence Act and appealed for the establishment of a facility to effectively address the issue. Programme Coordinator, Nalini Katrayan, noted the social maladies prevalent in the Corentyne, stating that alcohol abuse was the major contributor. She supported the call for the establishment of a distress centre. The government has plans to build a family mediation centre in Berbice before the end of the year.

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