September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015. BMG: Apart from the local observance, September 10 is an important day internationally as World Suicide Prevention Day, observed by the Ministry of Health and the Belize Mental Health Program under the theme, Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.

Belize saw 24 deaths by suicide in 2014 countrywide.

The Ministry says suicide is preventable and those suffering from mental disorders that may lead to suicide can and should seek information and appropriate assistance, and they should not fear degradation, judgement or labelling because of their condition.

This includes people with depression and anxiety disorders who are at higher risk of having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide. Diagnosing and treating depression and anxiety disorders are both necessary to decrease suicide crises and spread awareness of these issues.

The Ministry of Health has medical officers at all health centers and hospitals across the country trained on how to diagnose and treat depression and other mental disorders attributed to suicidal behaviour. Additionally, mental health clinics are situated at all district hospitals and at the Cleopatra White and Port Loyola Health Centers in Belize City.

Other activities implemented by the Ministry of Health aimed at addressing the issue of suicide include training teachers to recognize students who are at high risk for suicide; organizing various public awareness events that addresses suicide behaviour; and improving the data collection system to better understand the patterns of suicide behaviour in Belize.

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