Yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook about a young adult who attempted to take his own life by leaping towards oncoming traffic in Freswota.
I don’t know if there is any truth to this tale but I have to admit, the number of attempted suicide stories are starting to pile up, so I decided to find out if there are any services available in our beloved country to help people with suicidal ideations or tendencies.
With a quick google search I found a page called ‘Good Therapy’ to help with my deep dive into this subject. According to the website people who have suicidal thoughts most likely suffer from these conditions – ‘depression, hopelessness, severe anxiety, insomnia, or panic attacks.’
So what services are available and more importantly do we have a crisis line with qualified counselors?
In order to conduct this survey, I had to play a role of someone who needed help, someone who was on the verge of taking his life.
I reached out to the Vanuatu Women’s Centre first and asked for a counselor to talk to. Basically, someone who would be able to talk another person out of jumping in front of moving traffic. Surprising, no one was available and the attendant on the other end of the phone advised me to stop a bus up to Nambatu for further assistance at their office.
Not what I expected but they did provide options. The Police was next, first attempt of dialing 22222 the line got transferred to the Fire Department and the good fire fighter said they have been intercepting a lot of these phone calls lately … so you guys might want to get that fixed.
A few more calls to the cops and I finally got through only to find out that there are no counselors equipped in defusing a high-stake situation such as when a person has decided to take his or her own life. However, the cop on the phone did try to help and said that he would be willing to discuss the issue with the caller. So, good job to police, was worth the wait.
Then I tried the Vanuatu Christian Council for a spiritual life ring to be tossed by way. Once the receptionist answered the phone, I informed her that I had thoughts of taking my own life and I was looking for spiritual guidance to help me and then after considering the call … she hung up.
I thought the line got disconnected, so I called back two more times and no one answered. Very disappointing to say the least.
The last pit stop on this little experiment was the Ministry of Health’s SHEFA Provincial Mental Health Department and the lady on the phone simply confessed that it is a service that has been in discussion, but never eventuated.
Having a crisis line available to citizens with suicidal ideations is an essential service we need in this country to rescue those who are suffering from extreme anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks.
I still don’t know if there is a free crisis service available in the country yet, but for the sake of those who have attempted to take their own lives, I will try and find you an answer to that question.
In the meantime, if you’re going through any difficulty, talk to a friend, pastor, a cop or visit the Women’s centre, even if you’re a guy, they help everyone and they don’t judge.
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