Coleby-Davis raises concern that more men committing suicide

Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis yesterday raised concerned over police statistics which show an “alarming” trend that more men are committing suicide in The Bahamas than women.

Data from the World Health Organization shows that, globally, more than twice as many men die to suicide than women. Suicide rates among men are higher in high-income countries.

The data from the police force shows that of the 43 suicides reported to police in the last five years, 81 percent of the victims were men.

The statistics show that there were 11 suicides in 2018, eight in 2019, 11 in 2020, seven in 2021 and seven so far in 2022.

Thirty-five of the victims were men and eight were women.

“I share these statistics because I believe that as policymakers, we have a fundamental obligation to address issues that impact our communities,” Coleby-Davis said during debate on the Mental Health Bill, 2022.

“I also believe that we must be guided by the data that has been collected by government agencies and credible civic organizations.

“The preponderance of the statistics, Madam Speaker, clearly shows that most suicide deaths involved men. The disparity is alarming and suggests that greater research is required as to the reasons why.

“Perhaps the disparity is due to the observation that women are more willing to share their problems while men tend to bottle them up. As a society, for generations, we have encouraged men to be strong and not admit they’re struggling. We must, Madam Speaker, put an end to that practice.

“Considering that young persons under the age of 31 account for the largest category of attempted suicides in 2021, we must ask ourselves, Madam Speaker, is there more that can be done? However, I believe that this bill is a tremendous step in the right direction.

“Madam Speaker, the statistics paint a revealing and concerning picture for our society. The tabling and passage of this bill will be instrumental in ending the stigma of mental illness and tackling some of the reasons behind some of the suicide incidents in our country.”

The Mental Health Bill, 2022, seeks to make provision for the protection and enforcement of rights of people diagnosed with, or exhibiting symptoms of, a mental illness, and provides parameters for use of experimental drugs and electro-convulsive therapy.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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