Opposition leader Philip J. Pierre in a message Thursday to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, disclosed that when the Saint Lucia Labour Party forms the next government, it will commit more resources to mental health.
The full text of Pierre’s message is reproduced below:
Today, we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day. This year, our little island, Saint Lucia recorded 8 suicides, the majority being men and sadly the youngest just 24 years old. It is my opinion, that this, 8 tragic deaths, are 8 too many.
As a leader in Saint Lucia, it is my duty to confront the social issues impacting our people that too often others tend to overlook.
When we form the next Government, mental health is one of the areas we will be committing much greater resources to. The reality is, COVID-19 continues to have a significant psychological impact on those vulnerable citizens in our country, and the harsh economic climate that our people continue to struggle with daily only adds to the burden of our people – farmers, fisher folk, small business owners, senior citizens, single mothers and especially our youth are just some of the groups within our society that are facing immense challenges in today’s society.
We have to help them. While I believe it is the responsibility of any Government to put the people of Saint Lucia first by creating a safe environment for them, it must be an effort of every citizen to seriously address mental illness, and suicide in our country.
We must return to the day when we were our brother’s keepers. Where the village raised the child and communities lived like family – where our society was deeply rooted in the church and district leaders played an integral role in being support systems for the people of their communities.
We also have to develop a new national consciousness, where persons suffering from mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorders are not disenfranchised or stigmatized in Saint Lucia. Therefore, mass education in the area of mental health will be a component of our transformational leadership plan for our country. It is incumbent upon us to acknowledge, and understand the health of the nation’s people, is the greatest wealth.
I just want to share a message with those who are currently facing any trial or tribulation in their life – you are not alone. Even in your darkest hour, be assured that you can ask for help, reach out for assistance or call #203 for help. Remember, you have to fight through those bad days in order to see the good days.