In an effort to address the worrying suicide rate in Guyana, government on Thursday tabled the Suicide Prevention Bill 2022. It was presented to the House by Health Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony.

The Bill provides for the establishment of a National Suicide Prevention Commission, and suicide prevention centres, among other measures to help curb the high suicide rate in Guyana.

The function of the National Suicide Prevention Commission will include the preparation of a suicide prevention plan consisting of policies, and measures to be implemented for the prevention of suicide.

The commission will also make provisions for appropriate support for families affected by suicide, as well as friends and coworkers.

Additionally, the commission will introduce financial measures and garner support from private sector entities for survivors and families of suicide victims.

Meanwhile, the bill will mandate witnesses to make reports of suicide or attempted suicide to authorities. Failure to do so will incur a fine of $ 200,000 or three months in prison.

Another highlight of the bill states that “Clause 38 repeals sections 95 and 96 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, cap 8.01, dealing with procuring or abetting the commission of suicide and or attempt suicide”. This part of the law currently finds anyone who attempts suicide, guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to imprisonment for two years.

It also repeals section 203 of the Summary of Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Cap 8:02, which makes attempted suicide a misdemeanor, and persons found guilty liable to 12 months in prison.

The Health Ministry is currently working with international partners and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including Columbia University, to understand the causes and effects of suicide on victims’ families. The ministry has also been training local primary healthcare workers to detect depression in persons who access services, to ensure early intervention. (Extracted and Modified from DPI)




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here