Mental health picture may be worse than reported

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The emerging picture of suicide and mental health on these shores may be worse than thought.
At least two deaths believed to have been by suicide have been publicly reported this week, with the most recent on Thursday.
But a senior police official, who spoke to OBSERVER media on the condition of anonymity, said a truer picture of the mental state of the people would be forthcoming if attempted suicides were also tabulated and discussed in the media, and at specific public mental health forums to address the “taboo”  “don’t talk about it” attitude.
According to the official, there were five attempted suicides since August. The official noted that these were not reported by the media and said as a result, many people are unaware of the extent of the problem.
The officer disclosed that out of the five attempted suicides that occured in the past two months, two took place last week in the Yorks and Villa areas. In both instances, the individuals were women who reportedly had relationship issues.
The senior officer said the police were investigating both incidents, but added that they were not adequately trained for such cases.
“We have a sexual offences unit which responds in sex cases every time, but we don’t have a mental health unit or specialists in the police force and I think that’s something we really need. Every officer will respond differently if the training isn’t given. Realistically, they can’t train every officer to do the same thing so that’s why we need the unit,” he explained.
According to the official, suicide and attempted suicide are just as sensitive and challenging as rape for the police to deal with and the requisite training and resources should be given.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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