May 13, 2021

Suicide prevention symposium in Cayman Islands

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IASP President Dr Ella Arensman opening remarks_031215 MLMThe International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) held its 2nd Caribbean Regional Symposium in Grand Cayman, beginning Thursday (3 December, 2015) through Saturday (5 December 2015).

Protecting our Youth: Suicide Prevention in the Caribbean Region, was the theme of the symposium, which aims to provide participants with insight into various aspects of suicide research, suicide prevention and combating the stigma of suicide.

“Each territory seems to have a different kind of problem with suicide and so we really want to highlight the difficulties,” said Dr Loraine Barnaby, IASP Co-chair of the Council of National Representatives and retired consultant psychiatrist.

“The theme for this symposium is protecting our youth and we are really highlighting issues to do with suicidal behaviour in young people, especially the teenagers.

Dr Barnaby added: “And so we want to not only look at suicidal behaviour but also at prevention, and all of the various techniques of prevention. We, too, will look at intervention and post-intervention which is the care and counselling of the family members left behind and affected by suicide.”

The biennial conference also serves to bring together government leaders, policy makers and experts in the field of mental health, to develop effective strategies at a policy level.

Councillor for Health, Roy McTaggart offered remarks on behalf of the Premier and Minister of Health, Hon. Alden McLaughlin: “I am encouraged to see that law makers, professionals, medical practitioners, civil servants and community service groups are gathered here today; we will continue to work together to find solutions to reduce the incidences of suicide and attempted suicide within our own Cayman Islands and the rest of the region,” he said.

According to the IASP programme of events, over the next three days participants attended a series of meetings focused on preventing suicide in youth in the Caribbean; reducing pesticide suicides by restricting access to this means of suicide, and training gatekeepers within the health services, police, counsellors, and relevant community services on suicide prevention.

Symposium speakers and presenters included representatives from Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Cuba, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom

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