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Jul 3, 2014

Andrea Herbert’s suicide – could it have been prevented?

Andrea Herbert

On Wednesday morning, the lifeless body of Andrea Herbert was retrieved from the Haulover Creek near the BelChina Bridge, amid speculation that she may have been killed and dumped into the murky water.  It was later discovered that she had a history of mental disorder which is strongly believed to be the reason that Herbert took her own life.  Today, News Five spoke with her family members, as well as a psychologist to get a clearer understanding of what transpired.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The tragic, apparent suicide of twenty-two-year-old Andrea Herbert, whose body was discovered floating beneath the BelChina Bridge on Wednesday morning, has brought renewed focus on major depressive disorder or recurrent depression.  On the evening before, Herbert was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital by relatives who told News Five that it appeared as though she had suffered a relapse of the mental condition.  She was once enrolled as a student at SJC Sixth Form on a partial scholarship, before dropping out due to financial problems.


Lovine Welch, Aunt of Deceased

Lovine Welch

“The government pay half and the family mi suppose to pay di rest but dehn noh have it and she stress out affa dat and ih lead right back into di same depression because once she noh di go dah school, once she noh have wah job or once she noh have fu she thing weh she need she stress out and dat lead ahn into it and ih study had to go da Ms. Eleanor Bennett da Cleopatra White goh geh ih treatment.  But dehn mi tek ahn affa it because ih mi di do good and everything.  But lately ya, me noh know weh happen to ahn like ih get real, real bad wid ahn.”


According to psychologist Aimee Jex, Andrea’s bout with clinical depression may have been by triggered by a number of reasons, including the fact she was unable to find work after withdrawing from school.


Aimee Jex

Aimee Jex, Psychologist

“Some of the factors that may have led to this were, as you had mentioned and as has been in the media, that she was out of school for a while and that was one of her goals.  So that’s one disappointment, one sadness in her life.  The other one was that she wasn’t employed for a while before this happened and also, one of the most important factors is that she has a history of depression, that she has been treated for it and that she has been to, you know, she has sought treatment and that she was seeking it again.  So those are some of the factors that led to this, in this particular situation.”


Major depressive disorder is an incapacitating condition that negatively affects a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, as well as their general health.  Andrea seems to have exhibited several of those symptoms.  Her aunt recounts an episode at the KHMH in November of last year.


Lovine Welch

“The depression tek ahn so terrible that wahn whole crowd a dehn have to mi hold ahn down da Karl Heusner fi give ahn wahn injection fi cool ahn off.  Ih mi deh een deh fi one week.”


While Andrea spoke of drowning herself on previous occasions, it is possible that she may have been reaching out for help from those closest to her.  Whether that ominous sign had been heeded in time is still uncertain.


Aimee Jex

“One of the most indicative things is that she was actually voicing suicidal ideation and that is very important because sometimes people voice it and they don’t mean it, or they are seeking help, to put it more appropriately.  So it’s basically asking for help, looking for attention and one of the things that may have helped in this situation is seeking help earlier.  So when she first voiced suicidal ideation or when she said something was wrong, that was the time to address it and she already had the means.  Something that is very important to know is that if you go to any polyclinic you can seek a psychiatric nurse and, if not, just a regular nurse.  Anyone who is in the healthcare system can help and point you in the right direction.”


On Tuesday evening sometime around six o’clock, Herbert checked into the K.H.M.H. complaining of anxiety and labored breathing.  The family contends that she did not receive prompt attention from the staff on duty.


Lovine Welch

“Ih gaan da hospital fi sih di docta, dehn done write up ahn and everything but dehn tek too long fi tend to ahn and she get frustrated.  Dehn look eena di system and sih she mi di tek di treatment fi ih depression.  Weh dehn shoulda mi do da just give di lee gial wah injection and calm ahn down mek ih just, you know… Maybe all ah dehn thing ya cause from fi dehn negligence too.”


Aimee Jex

“One of the things that was of note was that in this case there was anxiety tied into it as well, maybe symptoms of a panic attack, you know, heavy breathing, not being able to think, heart racing, different things like that and so you have to remember that this is not just depression but it is depression with anxiety.  So they’re two different things but they go together very often and so the panic attack people will address it usually with medication and they will say, well as long as I can control this then they don’t really attend to the depression because that’s more something that, you know, that takes a wider view that you have to work on and focus on yourself and figure out how to get through it a lot more easily than just physical symptoms.”


The family is awaiting the results of a post mortem examination but says that they are in dire straits and finding money for the funeral is a challenge. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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4 Responses for “Andrea Herbert’s suicide – could it have been prevented?”

  1. BelizeanInAsia says:

    Many a youth in Belize is and has suffered the same In life. Being that Belize id such a small country the handful of young people should have little to no difficulty accessing the very basic…EDUCATION and a JOB! Some turn to a life of crime and violence and who knows what else. Many in Belize are suffering emotionally and mentally due to the general situation. Due to the general social, political and yes, the spiritual climate of the nation.

    Belizean people if YOU and WE do not stand up against all that is evil and corrupt be it in speaking out, striking, removing the incompetent we are allowing for the breakdown in society and all the existing glitches in the way each system functions in Belize. The health system, education system, justice system; you name it. We are experiencing a chain reaction Maan. Corruption In my estimation breeds lack of professionalism and negligence which exists at all levels.

  2. BelizeanInAsia says:

    Socially we need and have needed a government that enforces laws to hold parents accountable for providing for and protecting their children. Laws that strictly dealt with parents who habitually do not do their utmost best to ensure the basic needs of their children are being met. And a government that is consistently about equity with workable system (s) in place that offers help for the underprivileged. I don’t mean $50 $75 here and there or even a ‘partial scholarship’ and I don’t mean to bash anyone here. But a lot of the time people get little helps here and there which iss good but it would even be better if people are seen through. I speak I geneal here. To leaders and to whomever, when you help someone see to it that you see them through if you can indeed do so. Know their situation and help realistically.

    I want to stress REEDUCATE REEDUCATE REEDUCATE but while you are so doing…start the REFORMS.

  3. BelizeanInAsia says:

    On a final note, while re reading my post it would seem that I am bashing the parents of the young lady. I’m not. Please. Im just saying that some people have families but they are at times unprepared
    And remain unprepared to give them a good kick-start at life. I come from such family background and trust me I have loooked back and wondered how mcuh more I would have accompaccomplishedin life so far had I had more support ffrom parents and yes even the government. I tried so hard to get support for my education but got turned around to every door I knocked on for assistance. I had to seek assistance because my parents could have been financially sstable but were wasteful. Again I’m not hitting this young lady’s family. I don’t know their story just sharing mine.

    I remember feeling depressed a lot between 19-23 years old because I couldn’t finish school worse get a job. I had suicidal thoughts too but ii had a faith in God that did not let me do it. My mind or faith was a little stronger than hers. Then I got a break and took it. Nope not a scholarship from Taiwan either.

    This girl, She reminds me of me. I see myself in her. I could have been her :( Condolences to
    the family. She couldn’t take it anymore.

    Belizean people what will you do??? It could be you or someone you love that takes their life or else someone in their own frustrated life may take another’s life. We see it everyday.

  4. sickntired says:

    I feel sad for this child and family. I see around me plenty people stressed out with all the problems in belize and like nobody de round fi help. The govt too busy di tief and corruption rampant cause da like every dog fi themself. We need fi start pray more and get govt who really care about this country and di people. Khmh da wah huge waste of time with disgusting people working there who treat people like animals. PM and you wife please focus pon help people who really need help and stop surround unuself with incompetent cronies who no know how fi improve the system.

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