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Sep 2, 2011

Mental Health Association gives training about potential suicides

The recent spike in suicides in Benque Viejo Town has alarmed residents. Those high school girls, who were believed to have been involved in Emotional or Emo practices when they took their lives, contributed to an overall increase in the incidences of suicides in Belize. That’s the focus of the third annual conference of the Belize Mental Health Association in partnership with the Ministry of Health. The two-day conference was opened to all interested persons, but the main target groups included teachers, school counselors, family members who have been affected by suicide and suicide survivors. The Belize Defence Force and Police Department were also well represented. Lindy Jeffrey, the Vice President of the Mental Health Association, spoke to News Five about the purpose and content of this year’s conference.

Lindy Jeffrey, Vice President, Mental Health Association

“The Mental Health Association facilitates an annual conference on various issues and this year, because there were some concerns across the country about suicide in young people, we decided it would be a good opportunity to deal with the matter around factual evidence rather than people having a knee jerk reaction to some of the issues in the community about suicide.”

Delahnie Bain

Lindy Jeffrey

“What are some of the things that are discussed surrounding the issue of suicide?”

Lindy Jeffrey

“Over the last two days, we’ve discussed the history of suicide. We’ve gained some statistics and evidence in Belize about the numbers of people that it’s affecting, the prevalence of different types of suicide. Poisoning and hanging seem to be the most prevalent. And that’s what we’ve been discussing again today, drawing on people’s own experiences in the districts of people that they know who have committed suicide or attempted suicide. We’re looking at youth behavior; how they get involved in areas that might lead them to stressful situations where they are going to be involved in suicide. Dr. Cayetano now is just talking about how to establish a support group for survivors of suicide or family members affected by it.”

Delahnie Bain

I know at the opening yesterday, there was also a pamphlet launched. Can you speak on that?

Lindy Jeffrey

“That’s right, the suicide prevention pamphlet. This was produced by the mental health program through the ministry of health. Everybody gets a copy and that was discussed in more debt this morning really to give advice to teachers and counselors to lookout for difficult behavior in young people and how they can deal with it.”

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