Heartbreaking rise in suicides and attempts

A SERIES of stories about suspected suicides have featured in The Tribune recently – and each is genuinely heartbreaking.

In today’s edition, there is a story of a 15-year-old who police say had self-inflicted lacerations, and another incident where a woman reportedly attempted to jump from the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge with her two-year-old daughter but was thankfully stopped. Pedestrians intervened and the woman was then taken to the hospital for evaluation after police arrived.

We do not know the individual situations of those in these instances, nor should we judge or be quick to presume.

Suicide seems to be far less of a rarity than it was in The Bahamas. Even as little as a decade ago, any such instance was greeted with such public shock that it was a major occurrence in the news.

That seems to have changed – though our attitudes towards mental health and social support do not perhaps seem to have changed quickly enough to give those people in need the help to steer them away from such a path.

There have, of course, been religious arguments about whether or not suicide is a sin – though that seems to be arguing after the fact rather than preventing it from taking place.

We also should not too easily dismiss the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent an economic earthquake through our nation, but also cut people off, one from another, in ways that some have been unable to re-establish.

Then there are those who see no way out. We must strive to give one another that way out, that support that is needed.

There are helplines – the Bahamas Crisis Centre operates a 24/7 helpline on 328-0922, for example.

But it is not just down to those experiencing the crisis to reach out, we should be watching for those around us who are hurting, and reaching out to them too.

This is not about any individual case, and there should never be any attempt to shame – but rather this is about finding ways to stop things reaching that desperation point in the first place, and about offering an alternative when there seems nothing more that can be done.

The Tribune will be looking further into the resources available, the ways in which people can be helped – and how each of us can make a difference.

Remembering A Loftus Roker

The passing of Loftus Roker at the age of 88 marks the passing of another of the signatories of the Independence agreement. During the nation’s 50th anniversary celebrations last year, such moments were honoured – and there was a keen awareness that we have fewer and fewer who remember such historic moments from their own lifetimes.

Mr Roker was a tough-talking individual, but also tough acting. His legacy is most often linked with his actions in clamping down on immigration, something he was vocal about in the years after his service too.

He was also forthright on tackling drug trafficking, even during the drug years that scarred The Bahamas even through to today.

Depending on your viewpoint on issues such as immigration, human rights, and so on, opinions of Mr Roker’s legacy will vary.

But one thing is clear. These issues affect The Bahamas today – and the tough talking often goes on, even though the situation continues to perpetuate. Tough talk only goes so far.

We still routinely see cases of massive drug hauls, the government even went so far as to join a case against the US to take on gun smuggling, and we seem no nearer to resolving issues of immigration even as nearby Haiti goes through yet another political and economic crisis.

Mr Roker himself said the nation was not where he expected it to be but “the fault is all our fault”.

We are still in the process of fixing these things – and sometimes doing so seems ever further away.


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