SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - “The mental health effects of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic might be profound and there are suggestions that suicide rates will rise, although this is not inevitable,” stated a recent article published in The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 7, Issue 6.
The authors further state: “Suicide is likely to become a more pressing concern as the pandemic spreads and has longer-term effects on the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups. Preventing suicide therefore needs urgent consideration.”
To proactively address these trends, the Counselling degree program offered at Grace Hill Bible University, St. Maarten Campus dedicated the spring semester 2020 in equipping its students to address the growing suicidal ideation among our local and international populations.
The Master’s level counselling degree program, designed and developed by counselling veteran Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton, the visionary of Victorious Living Foundation, further enhanced its Suicide Assessment and Prevention Course by assigning students the task of surveying a sample of our local population to gain insight as to the current mental health of our local population. The results of the surveys conducted were insightful and revealing.
As a result of the surveys, the students were alerted to the fact that greater awareness and information dissemination are necessary to address growing suicidal ideation and to prevent persons from taking their lives. Consequently, the students were assigned the task to conduct a free Suicide Prevention and Awareness webinar for the local, regional and international public, towards their final grade for this semester.
GHBU student, Minister Rosanna Simone Ageday stated: “Suicide prevention is everybody's business. The more you are enlightened, the more equipped you are to help yourself and others to overcome life’s stressors and find your purpose to live.
“People don't kill themselves because they are weak but because they lose hope; and when hope is lost purpose dies. Understanding the many different reasons why a person may want to die gives you the ability to help that person to live.”
Minister Rosanna Simone Ageday declares, “It is the will of our Creator for us to live purposeful lives full of joy and peace of mind. We are to teach ourselves and others how to live that abundant life through Christ.”
She further emphasized: “This semester has been a wonderful experience. I have gained wealth that money can't buy. Suicide Assessment and Prevention is for all of us. Once we have it then we can give it; especially in this time of the pandemic.”
The students have set August 24th, 2020 at 8 p.m. for the Zoom webinar: Suicide Assessment & Prevention. Canadian Bestselling author, elderly caregiver, grief counselor, Mental Health Advocate, and social entrepreneur, Dave Rogers is the invited guest speaker. The general public is invited to register for the webinar to become better aware of the signs to detect if someone’s contemplating suicide; how to better take care of themselves to avoid burn out; and how to be more aware as to how they can protect and save lives.