Youths take part in suicide prevention training

Halo Generation Y Future Proof Anti-Suicide Prevention Conference at Government House, January 2018. (l-r) Hon Alincia Williams-Grant, President of the Senate; Michael Joseph, Chief Operations Officer - Halo Gen Y; Brent Scotland, President - Halo Gen Y; HE Lady Williams; HE Sir Rodney Williams; Faith Thomas and Dr Donovan Thomas (Choose Life International).
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A leading local organisation has upped efforts to boost healthy emotional wellbeing amid a series of apparent suicides in the country.

The Halo Foundation – which assists 36 local charitable groups – has long dedicated a significant portion of its work towards the deterrence of bullying and suicide.  

Three members of its youth arm, Halo Generation Y – Brent Scotland, Cuthbert Forbes and Romancier Edwards – participated in a suicide prevention certification seminar on World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday. It was hosted by Choose Life International under the theme ‘creating hope through action’.

The programme, now in its 13th year, has equipped more than 500 participants from across the world with techniques and knowledge on how they can assist those who suffer with severe depression and suicidal thoughts. According to the data presented, one percent of all deaths in the world occur due to suicide. On average, the act is committed every 40 seconds. 

President of Halo Gen Y, Brent Scotland, remarked on the importance of this training.

“As a group of young citizens with a mandate to assist the vulnerable, we have a responsibility to ensure that we play our part,” he said.

“Those who are faced with difficulties and stress, leading them to choose death over life, can more than likely be saved with the right intervention.”

In 2018, the youth arm kicked off its teen anti-suicide campaign by hosting a youth retreat at Government House. The sessions were conducted by Dr Donovan and Faith Thomas of Choose Life International, a faith-based organisation located in Jamaica that offers training and counselling in the encouragement of healthy emotional wellbeing.

As a result of the awareness efforts, a number of young people with suicidal tendencies and on the verge of self-harm reached out to the Halo Foundation in their times of personal crisis. Halo secured the voluntary assistance of a professionally trained psychologist in order to avert what could have turned out to be tragic incidences.

Halo Foundation President HE Lady Williams said, “The situation is still dire. The complications that young people face as a result of mental health deterioration are well known, discussed and documented.

“The foundation, like all other concerned entities, will continue to do whatever we can to attempt to alleviate the problem.  

“Every life saved is a blessing for some parent, friend or sibling who would otherwise have lost a dear one. No amount of effort can ever be enough,” she added.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the Family and Social Services Division for help on 562-5669.

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