(CMR) It was revealed today at the World Mental Health Day fair in Port of Spain, Trinidad that Trinidad and Tobago has the third highest suicide rate in the English-speaking Caribbean and the fifth highest in the Caribbean region per capita.
Pan American Health Organisation representative Dr Erica Wheeler made this observation today at a World Mental Health Day health fair at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain.
As she provided these statistics and underscored the importance of World Mental Health Day, Wheeler identified adolescents among the people to whom suicide poses a real danger. With adolescence being a crucial period in the development of young people’s social and emotional habits, Wheeler said studies showed 17 per cent of students in 2011 had considered suicide and 14 per cent actually attempted it.
“We need to pay attention to the reasons behind these statistics,” Wheeler said. “There are multiple factors that determine the mental health issues face are much greater with the advent and proliferation of social media and challenges associated with its misuse among other issues.”
Against this background, Wheeler said greater efforts must be made to “help young people build mental resilience.” Apart from helping the individuals at risk, Wheeler said economies and societies benefit when young people are better able to contribute to the work force, families and societies in general.
Wheeler congratulated the efforts of the Health Ministry and other organisations to raise awareness about mental health.