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Mar 2, 2011

Therapist discusses alternatives for teens contemplating suicide

On Monday, we aired a portion of an interview with an eighteen year old fourth form student, Daisy Cerda, of Benque Viejo del Carmen who attempted to commit suicide. Daisy’s case is just one among dozens of attempts over the past few months that have gone unreported. Suicides do not usually make it on the news, because of its personal and sensitive to families involved. But the number of recent cases is worrying psychiatrists. Because the problem has become so grave, News Five’s Marion Ali revisits that interview and sits down with a mental health therapist to find out what are the contributing factors and the options available to troubled persons.

Jennifer Lovell, Mental Health Therapist/Counselor

“We know suicide is on the increase; we see more and more of it. More and more of it with young people.”

Marion Ali, Reporting

With the suicide toll since the start of 2011 up to at least six, and many more attempts reported, psychiatrists in the public and private sectors have become concerned.  Mental Health Therapist and Counselor, Jennifer Lovell, says there are lots telltale signs that parents need to look for in their teens in order to nip the problem.

Jennifer Lovell

Jennifer Lovell


“If a child all of a sudden stops enjoying the things they use to enjoy. You see them isolating from their friends, isolating from you, they are suddenly locking themselves in their room and withdrawing away from everything. And they teenagers may keep some of their friends, but if they start giving away prized possessions, you hear them talking about finality oh this will soon be over, I wah soon dead, you noh wah have me around fi bother bout anymore. If a child is sleeping a lot and when they sleep they curl up into a fetal position. Or sometimes they just lying there and they don’t want to go and they don’t want to do anything or they are not eating. All of a sudden a child who use to eat heartily just stops eating or picking at their food if they eat any at all and you can see the sadness. If it is over two weeks, it is something that you need to pay attention to as a parent and get that child to the psych nurse or the psychiatrist or the counseling.”

Last week Tuesday, eighteen year-old Daisy Cerda, extremely bitter and despondent over personal issues, tied a rope around her neck after writing suicide notes, and hung herself.  Luckily, the phone call she made to her boyfriend just before, was what saved her life.  He made it to the location in time to cut her down and administer CPR.  As Lovell says, it was a combination of issues that troubled Daisy and she says she regrets doing it.

Marion Ali

“How are you feeling now? How are you mentally? How are you emotionally dealing with those problems?

Daisy Cerda

Daisy Cerda, Attempted Suicide

“Well I feel sad about what I did because I know I hurt my family a lot. I hurt wah lot of people and I feel sorry for me because the problem I’m doing it most to me. I was passing through many things. My cousin killed himself and that hurt me a lot and I had a lot of problems and I think I put them all together and that made a big deal. Then I didn’t found how to come out of this problem and I thought this was the best thing to do.”

Jennifer Lovell

“If you are out there and you are feeling hopeless, you are feeling like there is nothing else in this life to live for; you need to get help. Go talk to somebody, talk to an adult you trust, talk to a friend. There is always a solution to things, there is always a solution. If you are HIV positive, there is a solution because there is mediation. If you are HIV positive, you’re not gonna die any time soon, there is a solution, but you won’t know that until you let somebody know what’s going on in your head and what you are feeling in your heart.  And then you go to somebody else and they may have the solution to what the problem is, but not suicide. Suicide is permanent, you are dead. That is not the answer! That is not the answer. You have to come out and talk to somebody and let other people know what’s going on with you.”

To prove that therapy can turn around your life, Lovell says there are many people in Belize who have walked down that very road and are now contributing to the society.

Jennifer Lovell

“Absolutely! These are people who came in and they talked about the problem and they saw solutions and they get help. Sometimes it is something as simple as getting some medication to help with the depression, but suicide is not the answer.”

Marion Ali

“How do you see yourself a year, two years, five years down the road?”

Daisy Cerda

“I know I can do better, I will continue my studies, I will go to UB if I can, I will show people that I can do it.”

Marion Ali

“You can overcome your problems.”

Daisy Cerda

“Yes I can.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.

Counseling centers are available in every district and offer free sessions to suicidal individuals.  In Belize City the centre is located at fifty-six Freetown Road, on the third floor of the Benny’s building.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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13 Responses for “Therapist discusses alternatives for teens contemplating suicide”

  1. EMS says:

    Medication is a band-aid approach to depression. Suicide is a way of attempting to make others feel guilty for the issues another is experiencing IE: LOOK, this is what you are causing me to do, (failure to take responsibility for one self). depression is usually anger turn in against the self. IE: inability to get in touch with ones’ most inner self. In short, there is no fast and easy solutions/answers to any of these issues. Anxiety/Depression = one coin with two sides. In short, inability to cope with life’s stresses and day to day issues. In short, education/new orientation and self worth, could go long way in helping out with these issues.

  2. chabelli says:

    what a pity there is a need for trained psychiatrists we need professional help and not bogus counsellors

  3. leah says:

    unfortunately depression is serious and t leads to commiting suicide.. however there is no help … please update us on who and where these counselors are… where is the office located in each disttrict and in belmopan… update the public.. so these people can be help.

  4. BZNinCALI says:

    30 odd years ago, my former classmate, Winston, committed suicide. The adults pretended to be surprised, everyone of us who went to school with him knew that he was unhappy. This child was depressed for years, he went to school every day & the adults either did not give a damn or chose to look the other way. He did not take the final exit to hurt the rest of us, he was in pain, he was marginalized as a human being, he was dirt poor, abused & saw no way out.

    If the underlying issues is the environment the child is living in, an hour each week with a psychiatrist won’t help unless the family situation is addressed. Our children’s problems are important to them & we have to educate parents so that they understand that seeking help is not admitting defeat or coddling.

  5. Reality says:

    It a sad reality that we are seeing how our youths are been affected. i agree that we need more of psychiatrists and pychologist who are really trained to treat this cases.. but it is a sad reality that we have such belizean ppl that can help and are not given the oppurtunity to do so .. i have been in the country for a few years trying to give such service.. unfortunetly must ppl dont believe it necesary .. that is one of the reason that Brain Drain happens.. .. hope Cerda gets better..

  6. The People Had Enough says:

    These kids are bombarded by so many crap and peer pressure its not even funny. A kid of this age shouldn’t be experiencing all this stress in life; where are the parents? Also, this article really did not get into this young ladies head as to what all where the reasons she tried to kill herself, she only touched on the tip of the iceberg, i personally believe a big factor was ‘man’ problems; so young and these young ladies are dying for cacky, full pun intended.

  7. boots says:

    Its too bad put simple things like putting the girls picture up can cause symtoms of depression and etc that can lead up to suicide .

  8. 2 cents says:

    I’m not marginalizing this suicide problems but lets look at this from all angles.
    some youths really have problems, and before they tell you they try to figure it out on their own.
    was it family or boyfriend problems?
    why did she call her boyfriend not a parent or a sibling or a friend?

    months ago a young lady planned a murder and kidnapping because she wanted her boyfriend back.
    did this one planned a suicide attempt to get back her boyfriend?

    what she needs is to turn to God, pray more.

    I can do all things trough Christ who strengthen me. let our youth get back to the Bible.

  9. justin says:

    hey, its sad to know that the colt called Los Emmos are cauzing much pain on our young kids. the government needs to tackle the problem from the root and those in authority need to take charge almost immediately

  10. Earl Grey says:

    HERE AGAIN……………THE CHURCHES HAVE FAILED US……..not doing their JOB and REACHING OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY…. giving people hope and TURNING PEOPLE TO GOD.

    THE CHURCHES HAVE FAILED US!!!!!!!!
    THE CHURCHES HAVE FAILED US!!!!!!!!!!
    THE CHURCHES HAVE FAILED US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Elgin Martinez says:

    Jennifer Lovell i do agree with you that someone in this predicamentment should seek help.With that said how do these kids address their problem to say for eg authorities in the healthdepartment when these same people don’t even respect the patient rights.When nothing is confidential in our healthcare facilities.Would you?

  12. lucas says:

    Some people talk with knowledge of what they are saying. Other people talk with no idea of what they are saying. Sometimes I say things related directly with me because I want people to know that I know what I am saying. I hold a Master in Public Health Majoring in Health education and Promotion with enphasis in Drug and Alcohol Dependency Counseling. Another thing, I am not a nationalized Belizean but was born in this land of a Belizean mother but of a Guatemalan father and I say this because I am going to step on someone feet. Now here I go: Benque youth problem is a national one. It strikes not only at our individual exsistence but that of our very survival as a nation. The problem has to do with vice. Our grandfathers inhaled, injected, drank, apart from water, and smoked you know what; so our fathers and so do we and our kids are doing the same. Under the influence of these and other drugs, children have been fathered for generations. Now, our children may look healthy, beautiful and handsome but internal organs including the brain, have been damaged. Our children now lack the physical, spiritual and mental capacity to deal with life’s problems. These kids are our future. These are tommorow’s Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Foreign Diplomats, Physicians etc, etc, you know what I mean. Are we to blame our kids, or blame ourselves, or our fathers or grandparents? God Forbids. The blame lays at the door of the church and of crooket politicians. When I say the church, I do not mean the little church in the valley, or in the village or by the highway, I mean priests and preachers who sit all day at their mission office waiting for the tithes and offerrings to come in; growing fat and expecting the poor church members to do the job that they as leaders are supposed to do. And the politicians, all they do is undermine the govt. of the day and when the govt. becomes the opposition, does same. Our spiritual and political leaders are infected with the virus of envy and jealousy while our future ( OUR YOUTH) goes to the dog and thus our COUNTRY. The govt. should invest in parks, stadiums, youth rallies and in many other things that will keep the youth busy growing in physical, mental and social health. The church should promote weekend spiritual programes and during school vacation conduct camporees, conduct home visitation for your church youth. Get your big fat buttom up and go find the lost. That is your job which is paid with the tithes.

  13. Kimmo says:

    she did it after all.. yesterday, april 04th.

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