World Suicide Prevention Day commemorated

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Organization for Psychosocial Innovation (OPI) Monday joined other mental health advocates around the world to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day under the theme: working together to prevent suicide. 

The commemoration started with a march-past from traffic lights to MDI along Kairaba Avenue. The commemoration of the day was geared to sensitising and educating the public on ways to detect and prevent the act.

Catherine Ngaima Sesay, founder and chief executive officer of OPI, said commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day is vital as she put it, “in every 40 seconds someone commits the act”, saying the rate of suicide is higher in the middle and low income countries.

She said that mental health and suicide are something that is not much-talked about in The Gambia.

 “We need to talk about these so that people can understand that they are preventable. Our main aim is to create awareness on the prevention of suicide so that we can start the conversation because it is important to talk about it. We can make a difference because when people know that they can do something about it like offering hope; in some occasions the person will not want to commit suicide but will feel guilty of living. But if they have someone to offer them hope, they will not even attempt to do it,” she said.

Awareness campaigns, she said, would go a long way in offering support to families of people who committed suicide and the people who are depressed, saying depression is a major factor that can lead to someone committing suicide.

Ebrima Gassama, Public Relation Officer of Kanifing Municipal Council, said commemorating World Suicide Prevention Day is important to them as a municipality.

Lloyd London-Drakes Bojang Bah, a Social Worker said many people are suffering and are experiencing suicide without appropriate support because of their limited understanding of mental ill health.

He said there is limited understanding when it comes to mental health, saying to prevent this, there is a need for many access points where people can go and receive support, advice, and how to manage their state of health. 

Author: Fatou B Cham