Health

Cycling around the globe for World Suicide Prevention Day

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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THE International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), founded in 1960 by researchers and suicidologists Norman Farberow and Erwin Ringel, is a global suicide prevention non-governmental organisation.

It works in conjunction with the World Health Organization in widening the research and evaluation of prevention, intervention and postvention efforts at community, regional and national levels. Currently, there are more than 50 countries with representation in the IASP.

In 2003 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) was launched as a means of increasing public and governmental awareness of the serious public health issue that is deaths by suicide. Several special interest groups to investigate more deeply into a particular area were formed, including Suicide in Prisons; Adolescent Suicide, Media Portrayal and reportage on Suicide.

A release from Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Loraine Barnaby, Jamaica's national representative and immediate past co-chair of the Council of National Representatives on the IASP board, said these have continued and evolved to vital aspects of the work of the IASP.

In 2013, the idea of cycling around the globe was proposed as an activity for World Suicide Prevention Day. Circling the globe involves travelling a distance of 24,900 miles or 40,075 kilometres. It rapidly gained popularity as a way of increasing public awareness of prevention of suicide, the release stated.

To date, the globe has been circled many times at each WSPD. In 2016, it was circled four times by participants from all over the world.

In Jamaica, since the inception, then President of the Jamaica Cycling Federation Dr Wayne Palmer and Dr Sandra Knight, also an official of the federation, have gone out with their teams on cycle trips for the cause.

This year, their target is 100 miles for each team, the release said.

The teams are also supporting the Jodi-Ann Aleza Foundation which was launched in April. The foundation aims to increase awareness and educate communities on the importance of all aspects of suicide prevention, from the earliest child-rearing practices to the ensuring of emotional, nutritional and above all, spiritual support to people of all ages and at all stages of life.

The theme of prevention for this year is 'Take a minute, change a life'.

You can participate, too, at home or in the gym on your exercise machine, the release urged.

Other ways of observing World Suicide Prevention Day

The International Association for Suicide Prevention has developed many ways for individuals and groups to observe this important day. They include use of social media so that one could connect to show support; taking part in a local event, a walk or run, or a seminar; or lighting a candle at 8:00 pm on September 10 to remember those who have died by suicide.

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