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A reminder of proper reporting on suicide

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Suicide

Posted: Monday, September 6, 2021. 5:16 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Toward the end of last week, there were news stories in other media on the passing of a Coast Guard officer and whether he would receive burial honors from the agency.

As it is not the policy of Breaking Belize News (BBN) as an organization to report extensively on suicides, we will not go into detail. But with that context, we bring you the response of the Mental Health Association (MHA), which cautions to be careful with such reports, in its words, “to avoid additional hurt to survivors and stigmatization which serves to prevent people in distress from seeking help.”

The Association adds, “Any death by suicide is a tragedy for both the individual and for family and friends who are left dealing not only with grief but often with a complex mixture of anger, guilt, and helplessness.”

As of 1997, through the work of the MHA, attempted suicide is no longer a crime and the Roman Catholic Church, for instance, allows burial in the consecrated ground following a Catholic funeral.

Only coincidentally, World Suicide Prevention Day will be observed on September 10.

The MHA advises people, especially those in authority, to educate themselves on these issues and can also offer sensitization training to any group that requests it. They also offer our condolences to the family of the deceased in their time of grief.

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