US$32,000 suicide prevention programme to come on stream next year

Areas that are known to have the highest suicide rates will be among the key targets for a strategic programme slated to be implemented next year.
The lay counsellor programme which will ensure high-burden areas within Regions Two, Five and Six are reached, is estimated to be executed at a cost of US$32,000 for a one-year period by The Caribbean Voice [TCV], a non-governmental organisation [NGO].
TCV has among its primary aim the need to help improve mental and physical health by focusing on measures to reduce violence and suicide.
In its quest to give even more focus to the challenge of suicide, which sometimes follows an act of homicide, TCV has taken the initiative to introduce the lay counsellor programme.
Tasked with coordinating the programme is TCV’s Education and Training Director, Ms. Leslyn Holder. She, however, disclosed recently that the organisation has consistently been doing its part to help combat the scourge of suicide and violence too.
“We have been doing countrywide awareness, capacity building, training; we have been running with a trainer of trainers programme for suicide prevention and we are now embarking on more in-depth training for our anti-violence programme,” Holder related.
But the lay counsellor programme will essentially see the organisation taking its efforts even further.
“Our lay counsellor programme, which we decided to put in place, sort of replaces what was known as the gate-keepers programme,” said Holder. According to her, “The lay counsellor programme is similar in content but focuses more on persons in the community becoming trainers themselves and first responder.”
As she spoke of the plans to implement the one-year programme, Holder said, “We hope to cover all of the 10 regions in Guyana but for some of the more high burden regions like Five, Six and Two we will have to run more than one sessions.”
The lay counsellor programme, according to TCV’s National Coordinator, Nazim S. Hussain, will be held in three-day sessions at a time. But in order to ensure that this programme is implemented effectively, Hussain said that the NGO is also looking for support.
“We are looking forward to nation-wide support, especially corporate support…,” said the National Coordinator who revealed that thus far the programme support has been forthcoming from KFC in the sum of US$8,000.
Marketing Manager of KFC [Guyana], Livasti Bhooplall, in handing over the financial support earlier this year to Hussain, said that KFC is very proud to be contributing to the lay counsellor initiative even as she encouraged other members of Corporate Guyana to donate to the cause too.
Bhooplall, in recognizing the importance of the venture, said that KFC was pleased to get on board since the initiative is one that will see all 10 administration regions being able to benefit. She added, Guyana is in critical need of these types of training programmes since the daily news is filled with domestic violence.
“This is the first time that a company has come on board to support us like this and we are hoping that others would do the same,” said Hussain as he too asked that other companies emulate what KFC has done.
The need for support is important Holder added, since “suicide prevention is everybody’s business. If at no other time, this is the time for us to collaborate against what is happening in our country. We all need to work together to ensure awareness is raised countrywide.”
According to Holder too, while the organisation is aiming to especially target specific areas, often the situation that exists is that focus is directed to some sections of the country while others, where the need is most, are neglected.

About caribvoice

Free lance journalist, educator and community activist. Guyana born New York based.
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