With the escalating number of reported suicides, the unavoidable question is: Why? What is it that drives people, the young especially, to want to end it all? On September 10 Saint Lucia we will join the international community in commemorating World Suicide Prevention Day. Thankfully, outside of the established organizations with their expressed interest in suicide prevention, there are individuals as interested in discovering the root of the problem, perchance to arrive at a solution. One such individual is Shane Larcher, a local young entrepreneur, best known for his I am Lucian apparel line. He is also an activist blogger who has sought to use his platform to launch what he views as an effective suicide prevention campaign. “I believe we all have this one life on earth and we should make the most out of it,” he told the STAR this week.
The I am Lucian creator believes there is need for a practical suicide prevention campaign. “It’s not really known here as well as one might’ve wished but the campaign is centered around the question ‘How are you?’ ” he said during a recent interview. “How are you? can be the start of a conversation that could uncover how someone secretly feels about himself or herself at a particular moment. You never know what’s going on in someone’s head until they speak up. An individual could well have been considering the worst—until he or she is asked how they are feeling.”
In pursuit of further publicity for his activism Larcher has created pins and cards reflecting inspirational messages. According to the World Health Organization over 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide and at least twenty-five times that number annually attempt it.
“This has been my driving force toward the campaign,” Larcher disclosed. He is hoping the public will wear the pins on September 10. Also that business companies will invest in the pieces for their staff.
The statistics prepared by the leading organization that handles suicide, paints the real picture of suicide in St. Lucia. According to the National Health Service Helpline, between June 2015 and January 2016, 239 calls were recorded, with some people calling more than once. Calls were received from both sexes, aged 13-80 years, including 87 female and 94 male callers, totaling 181 persons. 49 high-risk callers were recorded; 132 low risks callers including 28 high-risk males and 21 high-risk females, 66 low risks males and 66 low risks females respectively.
“In St. Lucia,” said Larcher, “a lot more needs to be more done to discourage thoughts of suicide. We need meet-up events and more support groups.”
Additionally: “People commit suicide for many different reasons: someone may want to be pushing a dream or goal. Unable to get needed assistance they may feel helpless and become depressed. The reasons may also be related to failed or failing relationships.”
The National Suicide Hotline is 203, Wellness Centre at 4516824. Alternatively, Mrs St. Catherine can be contacted at the National Crisis Centre at 456-3990.