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Sep 30, 2022

Mental Health Association Commends B.D.F. for Swift Action on Suicide Ideation

Kathy Esquivel

The Mental Health Association of Belize commends the Belize Defence Force for displaying a change of the overall attitude in effectively dealing with suicide prevention within its ranks. In a press release, the association points to the B.D.F’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Jermaine Burns, who it says displayed a deep understanding of how vulnerable the security forces are to suicidal ideation. It also lauds the B.D.F. for immediately taking appropriate steps to support the soldiers who are experiencing suicidal ideation and to offer comfort to survivors and fellow officers. Founding member of the Mental Health Association, Kathy Esquivel told News Five that the immediate show of support, counselling and therapy offered to the soldiers is an indication that Lieutenant Colonel Jermaine Burns has a clear understanding of suicide and how to deal with it among the soldiers.


Kathy Esquivel, Founding Member, Mental Health Association of Belize

“We were pleased to note that he had spoken to professionals and he seemed to have a good lay person’s understanding and that’s really important because you can’t begin to solve a problem until you understand a little bit about what it is. Now the security forces are always under a lot of strain and they’re very often away from their families and this causes family issues. Sometimes they’re in stressful situations so actually suicide worldwide is security forces have a relatively high level of suicidal ideation and completion and attempts and it’s good that the B.D.F. is recognizing this and that they’re seeking professional help and that they recognize also that the survivors – both the family survivors and fellow officers – this is very difficult for them to deal with so they’re looking into getting professional grief counselling. So, really the Mental Health Association just wanted to congratulate them.”

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