An appeal once again for sensitive reporting on suicide


THE point has been made numerous times that the media has an important role to play in influencing social attitudes towards and perceptions of suicide and mental illness and must therefore ensure appropriate reporting of suicide and mental illness in order to minimise harm and copycat behaviour and reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental illness.

Of specific note are recent reports about a suicide death on the ECD for which media reportage speculated about the cause and ended up making assertions about supposed conflicts that served to create a great deal of tension between the families of the victim and her spouse on the one hand and a great deal of distress for family members on both sides. At a time when both families were grappling to come to terms with a death that was avoidable, such reportage not only smacked of sensationalism but contravened all the basic parameters for reportage in general and suicide reportage in particular.

So once again The Caribbean Voice calls on the Ministry of Public Health to ensure that media avoid counter-productive coverage, by consistently and continually releasing guidelines for media, especially with respect to what should be avoided and what should be included.

AVOID:
• Details of the method
• The word “suicide” in the headline
• Photo(s) of the deceased
• The word commit with reference to suicide.
• Admiration of the deceased
• The idea that suicide is unexplainable
• Repetitive or excessive coverage
• Front page coverage
• Exciting reporting
• Romanticized reasons for the suicide
• Simplistic reasons for the suicide
• Speculations about causes
• Language that seeks to apportion blame
• Approval of the suicide

CONVEY:
• Alternatives to suicide (i.e. treatment)
• Community resource information for those with suicidal ideation
• Examples of a positive outcome of a suicidal crisis (i.e. calling a suicide hotline)
• Warning signs of suicidal behaviour
• How to approach a suicidal person including use of emphatic communication.
• Strategies to build self-esteem and provide coping skills.
• Contact info to get help, such as the Suicide Helpline
The training for media personnel provided some time ago by PAHO needs to continually reinforced by media houses and/or the Guyana Press Association. In this respect The Caribbean Voice stands ready to offer such training on a periodic basis.

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The Caribbean Voice is very active


Contrary to rumors being peddled in some quarters in Guyana, The Caribbean Voice is very active. This month alone we had a community mental health workshop at Yakusari, Black Bush Polder and two students’ workshops at a high needs high school at Ash Youth Developers Education Learning Institute, Vigilance, ECD.
In recognition of the need to maximize impact and ensure positive results, all workshops going forward, will be followed up with ongoing work over a longer period of time. Later this month, we have an interaction with parents.
This would be followed up with a series of teachers’ workshops, and ongoing programmes for parents and students at the same school.
In the same vein early in the New Year we will have a mental health intervention at Yakusari to determine needs and to work with other stakeholders to meet those needs.
Our advocacy and information dissemination continues with letters and articles published in newspapers and online and interviews with broadcast media. And our seven social media pages continue to garner thousands of views daily, extending our reach globally and enabling beneficial interactions and collaboration.
This month we are conducting another of our surveys in Guyana, our fifth so far. Meanwhile plans are afoot to launch broadcast media programs in Guyana in the new year as well as online webinars and instructional/learning videos.
We continue to build collaboration. Recently we had meetings with Ministry of Social Protection, the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha and the Women and Gender Equality Commission. As a result, we participated in a forum at UG on gender-based violence and another one at the Regency Suites, both organized by the Women and Gender Equality Commission.
The Ministry of Social Protection has invited us to participate in its two weekly radio programmes. And we will be collaborating with the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha with respect to their upcoming anti-bullying and sexual abuse/teenage pregnancy campaigns.
Furthermore, we have been invited by USAID to attend and participate ina conference on Caribbean Youth Violence in Guyana next month and by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to attend and participate in a suicide prevention conference in Trinidad in May.
Recently, we worked along with other members of Voices Against Violence (comprising over 50 NGOs and a number of social activists) to, for the first time, spearhead speak outs to mark the Annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, which is observed globally from November 25 to December 10.
This effort was well supported by and mentioned in the media many times including in two different editorials and will now become an annual initiative. We have one speak out video attracting attention on social media with others will soon follow.
In collaboration with other members of Voices Against Violence, we continue to provide or source counseling for victims of abuse, those who are suicidal and those who are depressed or need counseling for whatever reasons.
Over the last couple of months quite a number of cases have been handled in various parts of Guyana, with many individuals and organizations joining hands to bring help to those in need. In this respect we will be creating/launching an app to enable persons anywhere in the Guyana to quickly and easily reach out for assistance.
Finally we again repeat that for TCV social activism is not a competition. We applaud all entities working on this landscape as each brings additional support and enlightenment with the end result being saving lives and empowering people.

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More awareness needed to fight gender-based violence in 2019 – Social Services Director


In keeping with the ‘Men Against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign, the Social Protection Ministry has released its plans for 2019 as it relates to putting an end to violence against women and girls around the world.
These programmes are geared at raising awareness while eliminating all forms of violence against women in particular.
Director within the Social Protection Ministry, Whentworth Tanner, stated that the Ministry has recognised the need for men to be trained in particular divisions which will in return be beneficial “not only to women but society also”.
“Based on our interactions with males, they believe that they are not being heard and there are all painted with the same brush by society. As a result, we wanted to set up a forum where men are comfortable to discuss those issues and also assist in fixing those issues”.
Tanner revealed that there are plans to introduce programmes in schools which is expected to target toddlers (from three years and older).
“The school programmes will target boys from three years old and it will teach them how to deal with certain situations involving girls and how to also work around certain issues. Basically, the programme is to teach them how to refrain from violence against girls and women – as they grow older”.
The Director also noted that these activities will be conducted in all 10 administrative regions. Further, he disclosed that the Ministry through the Regional Women’s Affairs Committee will be working closely with the Regional Democratic Councils on these projects.
“Addressing the issues with women alone will not fix the problem, we have to involve all persons. We taught that this is a really good opportunity because if men are informed, they will be able to pass down that information and also be able to correct their colleagues”.
These comments came on the heels of the recently concluded annual ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign.
The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
Currently, more than 3700 organisations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually.
Joining these organisations this year is Voices Against Violence, an umbrella entity comprising non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations and other entities and activists that organise speak outs across Guyana.
This effort has been endorsed by the Ministry, which is partnering with Voices Against Violence; the Women and Gender Equality Commission and Help and Shelter.
Organisations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender-based, child and sexual abuse as well as to brainstorm ideas which will address these scourges.
The idea is to create scope for victims to speak out since doing so is a form of catharsis that can also motivate and inspire other victims.
The campaign was held under the theme ‘Hear me too: collective voices against gender-based violence’, the programme aims at targeting all males across the length and breadth of Guyana. (Yanalla Dalrymple)

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Men’s forum garners large audience


As part of the government’s effort to address gender-based violence, scores of men from across the country gathered on Thursday last, at the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMRSC), to discuss the ways to curb violence against women and girls.
Held under the theme, “#HearMeToo: Collective Voices Against Gender-Based Violence,” the men ‘s forum was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Social Protection, Voices against Violence, the Women’s Gender & Equality Commission and other stakeholders.
This event forms part of the ministry’s 16 days of Activism campaign against Gender-Based Violence, which commenced on November 25 and will conclude on December 10. The campaign is being held in recognition of the need to eliminate violence against women and children.
The participants discussed a number of topics including sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, poor health choices, male perpetrators of violence and what defines and determines masculinity.
Director of Social Services, Wentworth Tanner, noted that while women and children are often highlighted as the primary victims of gender-based violence, men are affected as well and often are not heard.
He said this led to the ministry’s decision to create a forum where the male population has a platform to discuss such issues and gain an understanding as it relates to violence.
“Most men do not see themselves as perpetrators, however, due to the fact only a few men participate in such activities many are unaware of what constitutes violence and how to address it. Therefore, the goal of this programme is to help the targeted audience (men) change their mindsets as it relates to violence against women and children,” Tanner explained.
Meanwhile, Manager of the Gender Affairs Bureau, Adel Lilly noted that “some offenders are often abused themselves and are unable to express themselves during their childhood.”
The Ministry of Social Protection is currently working to introduce more male-related programmes.

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Men trained to deal with violence in home


Guyana Times Editorial, December 7, 2018: As the annual ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’ campaign continues, the Social Protection Ministry hosted a programme that saw men from all walks of life participating, with the aims of eliminating all forms of violence against women.
Held under the theme ‘Hear me too: collective voices against gender-based violence’, the programme aims at targeting all males across the length and breadth of Guyana.
According to Social Services Director Whentworth Tanner, activities will be conducted in all 10 administrative regions. Tanner noted that, “We are working closely with the Regional Democratic Councils, but where we don’t have those collaborations, we are working through the Regional Women’s Affairs Committee”.
Tanner noted that the through the programme, men complained about not being heard in society as it relates to violence. This, he noted, caused the Ministry to set up a forum where men can freely discuss their social issues.
“Most men don’t see themselves as perpetrators but because a few men that participate in activities that are condemned by society, all men are painted with the same brush. We don’t want that so the goal of this activism programme is to be able to help the targeted audience which are men to change their mindsets as it relates to violence against women.”
Tanner also related that the Ministry is also working to introduce more male-related programmes where they can be trained in particular divisions which will in return be beneficial “not only to women but society also”.
Some of the topics discussed during the 16-day programme were sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence, poor health choices, male perpetrators of violence, masculinity and manhood and consequences and corrections.
The awareness session will conclude on December 10. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign is a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
Currently, more than 3700 organisations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually.
Joining these organisations this year is Voices Against Violence, an umbrella entity comprising non-government organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations and other entities and activists that organise speak outs across Guyana.
This effort has been endorsed by the Ministry, which is partnering with Voices Against Violence; the Women and Gender Equality Commission and Help and Shelter.
Organisations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender-based, child and sexual abuse as well as to brainstorm ideas which will address these scourges.
The idea is to create scope for victims to speak out since doing so is a form of catharsis that can also motivate and inspire other victims.

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Trump’s ‘successes’ have flattered to deceive


Wonder what do Trumpites think now that Trump’s ‘successes’ have flattered to deceive. Stock market is in continual chaos. Tax ‘reform’ has no long term trickle down benefits to middle and lower classes. Unemployment ‘increases’ are actually not factoring in the rising laid offs due to business closings after business closings. In fact there have been more closings under Trump that any of his predecessor. North Korea is a disaster as that Baby faced dictator took Gullible Trump for a ride. Trade with China is now more advantageous to China than it ever was with the deficit now at a record level. Not a single major business has moved back to the US. Debt has increased by over two trillion dollars and then some..a record of all records. Federal spending has ballooned to a record level also. Infrastructure has deteriorated to levels not ever see before. The environment is at the highest risk ever. Ethics and morality have taken record plunges. Division and discord are at record highs. Civility has gone on vacation. Racism is worse than it has been since the sixties. Immigration is in chaos. Mexico is never going to pay for that wall, which will also never materialize. Governance has never been so nasty and has never taken so many incursions into criminality. In short the glitter is gone and stupidity, crudeness, depravity and ignorance have been exposed to their very core!

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TCV hosts workshop to tackle social ills


With the aim of tackling a range of issues prevalent in the lives of adolescents and adults, The Caribbean Voice (TCV) in collaboration with Seva4Life (a Canada-based Non-Governmental Organisation) and the Yakusari Humanitarian Mission on Sunday last held a training workshop.
The workshop was housed at the Yakusari Resource Centre, Black Bush Polder, Region Six, which saw an acceptable turnout of teens and adults.
The sessions were deemed interactive as key focal points such as suicide and prevention – warning signs, depression, coping skills, self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-care were among the topics covered – and abuse in all its forms, especially domestic and sexual abuse, were discussed.
These sessions also included role plays and even question-and-answer and

feedback segments. The TCV personnel were also overwhelmed by requests for help to deal with a range of issues, including rape, gender-based violence, depression and dysfunctional relationships, since these issues deeply affect the community.
While TCV is working to provide the necessary help, it also has plans to conduct follow-ups on clinical outreaches so as to be able to identify additional needs and address them.
The workshop panellists included: Dr Patrick Sixtus Edwards, Psychologist/Director of TCV; Ascena Jacobs, Probation and Social Services Officer/Volunteer with The Guyana Foundation; Carol Mancey, a Counsellor; Bibi Ahamad, an activist, advocate, and mentor counsellor of TCV along with volunteers Chandra Waston, Indi Ram, and Indra Ramcharran-Constantine.

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