According to the World Health Organization, there are currently more than 700,000 suicides per year worldwide and it is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, which is observed yearly on September 10th, a special assembly was held at Bahamas Academy on September 8th. Students, faculty, and staff donned orange and yellow attires to signify hope and to support suicide prevention.

The guest speaker was Sandilands’ Rehabilitation Center Physician Dr. Sean Knowles, who shared some of the signs teachers and students can look out for in a person who may be suicidal. Knowles also stressed the importance of speaking up on behalf of someone else who may have suicidal thoughts.

He said, "Depression can happen to anyone, let’s not make fun of it. Let’s try to get people help. If you have an uncle Johnny, and you see uncle Johnny sad all the time. No one is asking uncle Johnny "how’s he doing", and uncle Johnny seems to be drinking a whole lot of alcohol, check up on your uncle Johnny."

One of the greatest weapons against suicide and depression Knowles said is kindness.

He continued, "Everyone you meet Bahamas Academy, is fighting a battle that you know nothing about, please be kind always. If there is someone that you know, is dealing with depression or anxiety, I want you to write their names down, very confidentially on a piece of paper, and give that paper either to your teacher or you give that to the office, so that we can get help for the person , who you think is dealing with depression."

Knowles concluded his presentation with a special question and answer period with the students. The elementary division met with Detective Sergeant 2918 Chekesha McPhee of the Criminal Investigation Department who reminded the boys and girls they matter and are important to God. McPhee also advised the students to speak to a responsible adult when they encounter problems, and most importantly to seek God’s help.

If you know anyone who may need assistance through a difficult period in life, please have them contact The Bahamas Crisis Centre at (242) 328-0922 or Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre at 242-364-9600.