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GUYANESE LIVES MATTER MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS:PREVENTING SUICIDE IN GUYANA


Guyana has the highest suicide rate in world. The country’s ranking comes even though there was an 8.5% drop in the country’s suicide rate between 2000 and 2012. This suggests that local efforts to combat suicide have simply not kept up with those of other countries.


In January 2016, there were over 15 cases of suicide and attempted suicide. In many instances, suicide cases are unreported. Because of the prevalence of Suicide in Guyana, the University decided it should be placed on their agenda and a discussion of the topic was held simultaneously in two regions: Region # 4, Georgetown: Duke Lodge, Duke St. Kingston Region# 6, Berbice: UG Tain Campus.


Minister of Health

Hon Dr. George Norton, Member of Parliament

Minister of Public Health Hon. Dr. George Norton, M.D., M.P is an Ophthalmologist by profession who hails from River's View village in Region 10 (Upper - Demerara/Upper Berbice). He attained his secondary education at Queen's College. Following his completion of secondary school, he served as a teacher before heading off to the Republic of Cuba where he studied from 1978-1988. Dr. Norton graduated with a Degree in Medicine from the Superior Institute of Medical Science in 1984 and specialised in Ophthalmology in 1988.


Upon his return to Guyana, he served as a Consultant Ophthalmologist and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Dr. Norton entered Parliament in 2001 and has been a vibrant representative of Amerindian communities throughout Guyana. He served in the Tenth Parliament of Guyana as APNU's Shadow Minister of Public Health and Disease Control. In May of 2015, he assumed office as the Minister of Public Health under the APNU/AFC Coalition Government. He is married to Dr. Sara Norton and has fathered two sons.


PAHO/WHO Representative

Dr. William Adu-Krow

Dr. William Adu-Krow is presently the PAHO/WHO Representative for the Guyana Country Office. He acquired four (4) degrees from the University of Science and Technology, School of Medical Sciences, Kumasi, Ghana and then he went on to earn a Masters and Doctor of Public Health majoring in Socio-medical Sciences with emphasis in Survey Research from Columbia University.


Prior to joining PAHO/WHO in 2001, he worked in the Ashan  Region in Ghana as a Medical Officer of Health, with the Ministry of Health, Barbados, as the Director for Research and Development at the New York Urban League, Northern Manha an Perinatal Partnership and as Program Director, HIV Early Interven on Services for the Newark Community Health Centers, Inc.


Within PAHO/WHO, Dr. Adu-Krow worked as a technical officer in Washington, as the Sub-Regional Advisor for Family and Reproductive Health and as the Regional Advisor for Gender, Health and Development. Between 2008 and 2010, Dr. Adu-Krow became the WHO Country Liaison Officer in Solomon Islands, before being appointed in 2010 as the Representative for Papua New Guinea where he worked  ll 2014 when he assumed office in Guyana.


Head of the Department of Psychiatry

Georgetown Public Hospital

Dr. Bhiro Harry

Dr. Bhiro Harry is a Guyanese psychiatrist. He obtained his MD in Havana, Cuba in 1983. He obtained a specialist degree in Psychiatry also from Cuba in1988. Dr. Harry has worked at the Georgetown Public Hospital since 1983 to present. He is currently Head, Department of Psychiatry at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

University of Guyana Deputy Director, Tain Campus

Paulette Henry

Paulette Henry,(MSc.; BSoc. Sc. (S.W.); Cert. in Gender Studies) is a Lecturer at the University of Guyana within the Faculty of Social Science. She recently was promoted to Deputy Director , Tain Campus, in Berbice having held several administrative positions over the last 5 years. Ms. Henry is a trained social work educator with more than 20 years of experience as a practitioner in child, family and community organization.


She is interested in policy development and has worked in several areas with a focus on community health, juvenile justice, social cohesion and gender. Much of her research and publications center on issues of well-being with a focus on family relationships, child maintenance, and suicide with gender as a cross cutting theme.

Iwokrama International Centre,

Director, Resource Management and Training

Dr. Raquel Thomas Caesar

Dr. Raquel Thomas Caesar is a Guyanese forest ecologist. She gained her BA from the University of Guyana and her MA and PhD from Imperial College,University of London. Dr. Thomas has over 21 years of management and research experience in natural resources management with in-depth knowledge of sustainable forest management. She is currently Director, Resource Management and Training, Iwokrama International Centre.


She has been Head, Planning and Research Development Division, Guyana Forestry Commission, Head, Forest Research Unit, Guyana Forestry Commission, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Iwokrama International Centre and Researcher-Tropenbos Guyana Programme. She has also been a Researcher/Assistant Public Relations Officer, University of Guyana.


Dr. Thomas has published several scholarly articles on matters of forest ecology in reputable journals. She is deeply involved in service with such organizations as Guyana Marine Turtle Conservation Society, Guyana Society for Biodiversity and Ecosystems, International Society for Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield, Guyana National Initiative for Forest Certification, Guyana Citizens' Initiative, Citizens Against Rape (co-founded), Moray House Trust in Guyana as well as several others internationally.


Dr. Thomas has a keen interest in issues related to mental health and human rights issues.


Masters in Public Health Program at

the University of Guyana, Final Year Student

Liza Marie Merai

Liza Marie Merai is a final year, graduate student in the Masters in Public Health Program at the University of Guyana. She holds a BSc in Sociology and has worked in various positions at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). As a public health practitioner, she was deeply troubled by the reports of high rates of suicide in Guyana, especially in Berbice, since she originates from region five (5).


During the course of her work she came in contact with many family members of people who died as a result of suicide. This gave direction to her graduate studies. Her Masters' thesis (Aug 2016) is on patterns of suicidal behavior occurring in people who were treated at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation between 2012 and 2015.


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