Jamaica averages 50 suicides per year over past decade

Sunday, September 09, 2012 | 9:59 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - There has been an average of 50 suicides per year in Jamaica over the past 10 years, according to data from suicidologist and founder/president of Choose Life International, Dr Donovan Thomas.

However, this is relatively low compared to other countries, considering it translates to two or three suicides per 100,000 citizens. Trinidad, for example, has reported 10 suicides per 100,000 residents, Dr Thomas said.

“People commit suicide for various reasons such as broken homes, sexual abuse or financial stress which brings about a sense of hopelessness.  We have found that there is a correlation between poverty and stress which drives people to take their lives,” explained Dr. Thomas, who founded Choose Life in 2008.

“We praise God that since our inception no-one who has undergone counselling with Choose Life International has left our offices and gone on to take their lives, because in cases where we believe further intervention is necessary we have sought assistance from the medical fraternity,” he added.

In marking World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, September 10, Choose Life International will be hosting a seminar: ‘Strengthening Protective Factors & Instilling Hope’ at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, beginning at 7:45am.

The seminar is endorsed by the Ministry of Health, Medical Association of Jamaica and Nurses Association of Jamaica, Dr Thomas said.

Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson is confirmed as keynote speaker at the opening ceremony and the seminar is open to members of the public who are required to register by emailing

Among the areas to be covered at tomorrow’s seminar are: ‘The Role of the Health Sector in Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope Against Suicide’ led by Dr Maureen Irons-Morgan; ‘Exploring School Strategies for Instilling Hope and Strengthening Protective Factors, with presenter Dr Grace Kelly, chairperson, Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences, Northern Caribbean University, ‘Empowering the Family to Build Resilience against Suicide’ with presenter Dr Judith Leiba and ‘The Church as an Agent of Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope Against Suicide’ led by Dr. Anthony Allen.      










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