On World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), the Belize Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization invites the public to join in promoting suicide prevention and demonstrating joint responsibility to save lives that would otherwise be lost to suicide.
In the spirit of this year’s theme - Connect, Communicate, Care - the WSPD flag will be raised on September 9th, 2016 to connect with the Belizean public on the issue of suicide prevention, to communicate with those who need assistance, and to show that the country cares about this very important issue. Flags will be raised in noticeable places in all districts. In Belize City, a flag raising ceremony will be held at the Battlefield Park on September 9th starting at 9:00 am.
The burden of suicide on families and communities is usually acknowledged only when someone dies by suicide. The Mental Health Unit of the Ministry of Health continues to make every effort to bring this tragic event to the forefront although is are aware of the unwillingness among many Belizeans to engage meaningfully on this issue.
The trend over the past five years shows that men between the ages of 25 and 35 are dying more often by suicide related to alcohol abuse. Teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 18 are most often attempting suicide due to interpersonal issues. Suicide deaths are preventable if we focus more on our mental health, connect with the people around us who may be in psychological distress and encourage them to seek help.
Since 2003, WSPD is commemorated annually on September 10th through the sponsorship of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization. The image on the WSPD flag was adopted from the official international banner of the IASP.