Demanding a Fully Equipped Psychiatric Ward, Trained Staff, and Mental Health Resources
By: Omar Silva, Editor National Perspective Belize
Belize City: Sunday, 11th September 2023
In an unprecedented and tragic turn of events, our community is grappling with the devastating aftermath of three suicides within just 12 hours. These shocking incidents have unfolded on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, forcing us to confront the urgent need for immediate action from the government's medical ministry.
A Startling Trend Emerges
Traditionally, we refrain from reporting on suicides, out of respect for the families and individuals affected. However, the recent spate of suicides, including the most recent case of an 18-year-old, Jose Guevara, has left our community shaken. Guevara's passing adds to a disturbing pattern, as it marks the third suicide in Stann Creek in just one month.
A Closer Look at the Tragedy
The most recent tragedy unfolded in Rockstone Pond village in the Belize District, revealing how unpredictable these situations can be. Jose Guevara, a young man full of life, had just celebrated his 18th birthday. He was waiting for the results of an amnesty program he had applied for, eager to become nationalized. However, his dreams were tragically cut short when he took his own life around 7:00 PM.
The Chairman of Rockstone Pond Village, Errol Audinett, expressed the profound shock experienced by the community. He described Guevara as a gentle, hardworking soul who always wore a smile. Audinett emphasized the need for people to open up about their feelings and highlighted the impact of mental health support on preventing such tragedies.
The Hidden Struggle
Christa Courtenay, a counselor and managing director at Monarch Counseling and Consulting, shed light on the hidden struggles of those contemplating suicide. She explained that sometimes the signs are not readily apparent, and individuals may go to great lengths to hide their pain.
Courtenay stressed the importance of reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues and the urgent need for increased mental health support within the country. She emphasized that suicide is preventable and encouraged individuals to seek help without fear of judgment or rejection.
Government Action is Imperative
These heart-wrenching incidents emphasize the pressing need for government intervention. The government must allocate sufficient funds and resources to establish a fully-equipped psychiatric ward staffed with certified psychiatrists. Furthermore, increased mental health resources and stigma reduction initiatives are essential to creating a safer and more supportive environment for those in need.
A Call to Action
As we mourn the loss of these precious lives, we must remember that suicide is preventable. On this World Suicide Prevention Day, we must rally together as a community and demand immediate action from our government to address this crisis. Together, we can make a difference, reduce stigma, and provide the help and support that so many desperately need.
For those seeking assistance or resources, Monarch Counselling and Consulting can be reached at 670-6080, or you can visit Mind Health Connect for additional support.
Remember, you are not alone, and help is available.