Home Editorial Vulnerability of farmers to climate change phenomenon
The blinding need for oblivion from harsh realities of overwhelming problems is the driver behind many persons seeking to quit life as the ultimate solution to difficult situations.
A person suffering from deep depression needs assurances that solutions can be found. problems are not insurmountable, but coping with extant and future challenges necessitates one staying alive, not take what seems the easy way out, leaving much devastation in the wake of one’s action, especially the grief and guilt that surviving family members have to cope with.
The media reported only this week that a Corentyne, Berbice rice farmer took his own life because of inability to repay his debts as a result of the devastating floods in his fields, which left his family with no source of income in the foreseeable future, and no hope of recovery of his sole means of providing for his family.
Parmeshwar Dindial, the farmer’s son, who resides at Number 60 Village, Corentyne, explained to media operatives that they found his 54-yr-old father, Narine Dindial of Number 58 Village Corentyne, dead in his house on June 11.
Parmeshwar explained that his father had planted about 150 acres of rice, but could harvest only a minimal amount, as most was damaged by flood waters; and the little he reaped proved unfit for human consumption.
Farmers are cultivators who farm either on their own land or on leased land, with or without the assistance of agricultural labourers.
Farm labourers are also severely affected by damage to crops and farmland, with the consequence of farmers being unable to pay their labour force, which results in job loss because the labourers’ primary source of income is through farm (agriculture/horticulture) labour activities.
In a report by the World Health Organization, Guyana was cited as the country with the highest suicide rate in the world — 44.2 suicides per 100,000 deaths, four times the global average.
The WHO report was an attempt to bring global attention to the issue of suicide. The goal was to encourage individual countries to take steps to prevent suicide, considering their specific culture and addressing local risk factors. In early 2015, Guyana became one of only 28 countries to develop a suicide prevention plan in response to the report. The plan identifies factors that could contribute to the country’s high rate of suicide.
Records reveal that approximately 70 percent of the country’s suicides occur in rural regions, where many people assuage their feelings of hopelessness with overindulgence of alcohol to cope with their poverty and economic despair. Instead, the alcohol exacerbates depression in minds deprived of reasoning powers by alcohol-induced neurosis, precipitating suicidal thoughts.
Caitlin Vieira, a Guyana Government Psychologist and Addiction Specialist, avers that there is a lack of clinics and social support networks in these villages, but that there are plenty of rum shops. She says “Sporting,” Guyanese slang for drinking, is a popular pastime.
Additionally, a study by the Pan American Health Organization reported that nearly 80 percent of Guyanese adolescents had their first drink before the age of 14, and some children try alcohol for the first time in elementary school.
Dysfunction in family constructs and bullying in schools and workplaces also contribute to Guyana’s high suicide rates.
Illicit drug usage has also become a major contributory factor to violent, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse oftentimes leading to murder and suicide.
It is imperative that Government prioritises the fructification of the suicide prevention plan, because one life lost to suicide is one too many.