Residents suffering from suicidal tendencies, depression or other mental disorders now have free 24-hour access to professional help.
This was revealed last night by Senior Registrar in the Department of Psychiatry at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Dr Tonya Holder as she participated in the monthly series of Man Talk panel discussions organized by the Men’s Fellowship of the Cave Hill Wesleyan Holiness Church. The topic was Exploring Suicide in Barbados.
Pointing to an increase in the number of people seeking help from the hospital’s psychiatric unit on Ward C4 due to the current economic challenges, Dr Holder revealed that a psychiatrist was on call around-the-clock to assist members of the public.
“Reach out points are also at the polyclinics,” she told the discussion, adding that the QEH Psychiatric Unit was also open to people with mental queries.
She said while the rate of successful suicide in Barbados was generally low, the rate of attempts was quite high, with issues such as bullying in school, alcohol and other substance abuse and sexual assault being among the main contributors.
“Staffing is always going to be a problem. Right now the complement [in the QEH’s Psychiatric Unit] is not going to be able to go into the school system to do it. I think that is why we have made it such an open forum for the guidance counsellors to take the lead aspect,” Dr Holder said in response to a question from the audience as to whether the hospital had any outreach programmes in the schools that may help to nip potential suicide attempts in the bud.
“What can we do? It is something we have been talking about, especially now with the increase in suicide recently in the young. But bullying seems to be the main thing that’s pushing it and I think that’s maybe where we start,” the senior psychiatrist added.